Richie Ramsay is relishing the opportunity of mixing it with the best in the world over the weekend at the Open after playing some of his best golf in the last few years so far.
The 34-year-old Scot followed up a two-under-par 68 on Thursday with an excellent level par 70 to creep up the leaderboard and occupy a tie for fifth place – four shots behind leader Jordan Spieth.
Ramsay left the course in buoyant mood after ‘ticking a box’ of putting himself into position to contend at a major and hopes he can stick to the gameplan of the opening two days.
“It was some of the best golf I’ve played in the last year – maybe the last few years,” said Ramsay, whose best finish at the Open was T58 in 2013. “My irons were just exceptional today. I just loved being out there – it was brilliant.
“I’m in a position now to compete which is something I haven’t done over the last few years. I feel like I needed to do it to tick a box to say I’ve mixed it with the best in the world at a major.
“I’ve done that over the first two days but whether I do that over the next two days, I really don’t know. But I’ll be giving it 100%, that’s for sure, and be remaining as positive and confident as possible.”
Scotland hasn’t had a major champion since Paul Lawrie in 1999 and, with European Tour success for Scots pretty futile over the last decade too, Ramsay is only too aware of a void that needs filled.
“Every time I play, I feel like I’m representing my country which is a big thing,” he added. “We know that there’s a void that needs to be filled. There’s a good crop of young players – I think Grant Forrest has huge potential, Bradley Neil as well – so it’s good to see guys coming in behind us and we just need to push on and make sure we’ve got guys at every level of the professional ranks.
“If you can have that one guy that’s at the top, there’s no doubt that it drags everybody with them – not just professionals but kids who watch them.”
One aspiring young player who saw his journey at the Open come to a premature end on Friday was Drumoig amateur Connor Syme, who finished on nine-over-par after carding a six-over-par 76 in the second round.
The 22-year-old was left to rue some costly mistakes – including a quadruple-bogey on the par-3 12th – but believes his game isn’t far away from mixing it with the best.
“After what happened at the 12th, it would’ve been very easy to go on a run,” said Syme, who ended up parring his way in from there. “I still needed to do myself proud, there was still a lot to play for at that point in the round. It was very, very difficult out there but I just made too many mistakes.
“But I’ll take a lot of positives from it. The whole week has been so special and I could definitely get used to playing in events like this.
“It was good to test my game against the best and I don’t think I’m a million miles away. I just made far too many mistakes and I just need to be a little bit smarter with the golf ball.”
Missing the cut alongside Syme were US-based duo Russell Knox and Martin Laird, who both finished on seven-over-par, Lawrie finished on nine-over-par and 1985 Claret Jug winner Sandy Lyle ended on 13-over-par.
David Drysdale, meanwhile, will be playing the weekend after making the cut on the number at five-over-par.