Scott Jamieson will enjoy a stellar year despite missing out in the Volvo Golf Champions, says Jamie Spence
Last Updated: 14/01/13 11:31am
Scott Jamieson: has improved from 100th to 72nd place in the rankings
Scott Jamieson will enjoy a stellar year despite missing out in the Volvo Golf Champions, says Jamie Spence.
The 29-year-old was denied a second title of the season in Durban as South African Louis Oosthuizen fired a final round 66 to win the tournament by a single shot.
Jamieson, who won last month's Nelson Mandela Championship, secured outright second after making birdie at the last - his chip for eagle all but going in - and now is up to 72nd in the World rankings.
Spence told Sky Sports that Jamieson missed several crucial birdie opportunities in his final round 72, but, nevertheless, was impressed with the Scot's overall display.
"It could have easily have slipped away from Jamieson - he could easily have slipped back into the pack and had a horror day but he kept going," he reflected. "It was a stoic performance and that fantastic chip at the last earned him an extra 50,000 Euros.
"Let's not forget that he's had a win, a second spot and a third spot in the first three tournaments so we shouldn't be too critical of him, although I'm sure he'll be kicking himself a little bit.
"But what a great start he's had - I think you'll see him on leaderboards right through the season. It tends to go like that. When players start the season well, they tend to stick around."
Jamieson began the final round five clear of the entire field but followed up two early birdies with a double bogey at the fifth in a level-par final round, while Oosthuizen seized the initiative which featured seven birdies - his only bogey coming at the par-four 16th.
"It was a good start by Jamieson," reflected Spence. "I feel he obviously had a bit of a game-plan, that I didn't quite understand. He hit an iron off the third, although he birdied it, and he birdied the fourth and everything was great.
"But the driver off five seemed to stop him in his tracks a little bit and he didn't make another birdie until that fantastic chip on the last, which secured him second spot. I'm delighted that he did that.
"I think you'll see Scottim on leaderboards right through the season now as when players start the year well, they tend to stick around."
"But he just didn't birdie the three par-fives [after the 3rd] and Louis did - he birdied all of them, whereas Scott couldn't quite get on the greens and he didn't get it up and down.
"That was the difference for me. Louis at the last had to hole a tricky two-and-a-half footer down the hill to win, so he was stumbling a little bit at the end himself.
"I've never seen Louis take his hand off the golf club so much as he did in the last few days - he's obviously not that comfortable with the way that he's swinging the club and he did hit a lot of errant tee shots over the last few days but he's such a quality player that he left himself birdie opportunities.
"He putted exceptionally well from long range. This course is very tight but that local course knowledge, knowing what to do around this course, paid dividends."
Oosthuizen is now ranked fourth in the world after securing seven top-10 finishes in his last eight tournaments, and Spence sees no reason why he can't continue to challenge the biggest names in golf for Major honours, not least the Masters at Augusta, where last year he lost a play-off to Bubba Watson.
"Oosthuizen, for me, is amongst those top players as is Charl Schwartzel as well - those two seem to be dragging each other along, trying to beat each other's exploits, which is a very healthy thing," said Spence. "I think Louis will be looking forward to going back to the Masters.
"They are learning their trade; I don't think Oosthuizen has played fantastically well this week and yet he's won the golf tournament in a field of winners - that's what you've got to do in golf.
"It's easy when it's all going your way and the golf club feels great in your hands. But there are days in golf when it doesn't feel so good and you've got to put the scores on the board, and he's able to do that now."