Jamieson eager to toast Durban double

1/12/2013 4:09:00 PM
 Scott Jamieson   (Getty Images)
Scott Jamieson (Getty Images)
One year on from last-man-in Branden Grace winning the Volvo Golf Champions, Scotland's Scott Jamieson could well do exactly the same thing at Durban Country Club on Sunday.

The 29 year old will take a five stroke lead into the final round of The European Tour's opening event of the year.

Jamieson, 15 under par after a 68, is part of the winners-only 33-man field thanks to his victory last month at the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa - also staged in the South African city.

Grace left it even later to earn his spot 12 months ago, capturing the Joburg Open and then seven days later beating compatriots Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a play-off at Fancourt.

The main threats to Jamieson in the race for the first prize of €350,000 are 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Frenchman Julien Quesne.

They all stand ten under, Quesne posting a 67, but Jaidee only a 73 and Oosthuizen a 74.

Jamieson came into the tournament as a member of the Official World Golf Ranking's top 100 for the first time in his life, but could end it with all manner of exciting possibilities opening up for him.

Never having played a World Golf Championships, he would be looking at a place in next month's 64-man Accenture Match Play in Arizona and being in the top 50 at the end of March would give him a dream debut in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

Not bad for someone who failed in his first three attempts to survive The European Tour Qualifying School before coming through the Challenge Tour three years ago.

Oosthuizen held a one shot overnight lead, but went to the turn in a worst-of-the-day 40 and needed three birdies in the next four holes to reignite his hopes.

Jaidee was the first to take advantage, going three clear after birdies at the second and third, but he also took six at the long eighth whereas Jamieson hit a brilliant second shot to five feet and made it for eagle.

That three-shot swing brought him level and he moved three in front by chipping in from 25 yards at the 11th, making a 12 footer on the next and then leaving himself a tap-in at the 339 yard 13th.

The gap became four when Jaidee missed a short putt on the 16th as heavy rain returned and he bogeyed the 273 yard last as well.

Jamieson dropped a shot on the 17th after missing the green, but chipped close at the last to pick up a further stroke.

Of his three iron on the eighth to set up the eagle as Jaidee and Oosthuizen were taking sixes there, Jamieson said: "That definitely got me kick-started.

"It was another great day. I didn't play as well as I did the first two days, especially tee-to-green, but managed to score well and that's the main thing."

As for his early professional struggles he added: "I was just in the abyss, so I guess slumming around in the lower leagues helps build your character.

"I was fortunate to keep playing when money was not necessarily being chucked at me."

Ireland's Shane Lowry almost won himself a £93,000 lorry on the final green. That is the prize for a hole-in-one on the par four and his drive kicked off the bank of a bunker and was rolling towards the hole, but in the wet conditions pulled up four feet short.

He eagled it for the second day running - the first came when he sank a bunker shot - and a 70 left him seven under.

Joint fifth one stroke better are his fellow countryman Padraig Harrington (67) and Italian Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari (68), but Open Champion Ernie Els is ten adrift following a 71.