Scott Jamieson’s impressive victory at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa in Durban not only marked his maiden European Tour title but also saw the Scotsman take an early lead at the top of the embryonic 2013 Race to Dubai.
The 29 year old’s triumph over Steve Webster and Eduardo De La Riva in the second sudden-death play-off hole came after a closing eight under par 57 on the modified layout at Royal Durban saw him climb 67 places up the leaderboard into the three-way tie at the summit of the weather-curtailed event on Sunday.
Two pars at the 18th hole were enough for Jamieson to see off his two rivals and seal the €118,875 winner’s cheque, and with it strike the first blow in the fifth edition of the season-long Race to Dubai which will consist of a minimum of a 45 tournaments around the world.
Jamieson began the last season 214th in the Official World Golf Ranking and was 167th at the culmination of The 2012 Race to Dubai, while his debut win in South Africa has now seen him ascend 52 places into 115th position.
And while he cites a desire to ascend into the top 100 in the World Ranking as one of his major targets for the new season – with places at August’s US PGA Championship on offer for those who are – the Glaswegian also discussed his ambitions closer to home.
“Breaking into the top ten of The Race to Dubai and that bonus pool is definitely one of my big goals for this new season,” said Jamieson, who finished in tied 14th place at last month’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
“I was 59th two years ago and 53rd last year, so I’m moving in the right direction but I hope I can get a bigger climb than just six spots come the end of this season and the win here at the Nelson Mandela Championship is a brilliant start, of course.
“I think finishing in the top 30 also gets you into The Open Championship so there are all of these little aims in trying to improve, trying to climb the World Rankings, trying to get more victories, trying to get into the Majors, and trying to finish as high as possible in The Race to Dubai.”
Although the 2013 season has just begun, fond memories of last season’s finale in Dubai are still fresh in Jamieson’s mind.
He said: “It’s a brilliant event to end the season, a top course, and I think last year’s proved that fact. I obviously had a decent finish myself but to see the top two players in the world going at it like they did in Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald – and that amazing last day from Justin Rose – just proves its quality.
“And now with the new changes with ‘The Final Series’ building up to it, it is just going to make it even more exciting this season.”