The rains were a good omen for Scott Jamieson in last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa, but the defending champion wants a full 72-hole tournament at Mount Edgecombe Country Club this year.
Waterlogged fairways were the main culprit in causing a delay to the start of the €1-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour – this after the 2012 edition was shortened to 36 holes at an almost submerged Royal Durban.
“Well at least we got to play the pro-am this year, but it seems like the rains are going to come again,” said Jamieson. “It was a good omen for me last year, so hopefully it will be the same this time around.
“It’s a lovely course and I love the back nine – there are some great holes. The fairways are soggy and the forecast says they will battle to dry up, but the greens are incredibly firm for how much rain the course has taken. Hopefully we can play the full length,” he added.
The 30-year-old Scot from Glasgow took his debut European Tour win at Royal Durban, and that signalled the start of a purple patch. “Winning last year was a catalyst to my best year yet,” he said. “I went from winning here to getting a spot in the Volvo Champions at Durban Country Club, where I came close to winning.
“My good finish there led on to getting into certain tournaments based on my position in the Race to Dubai. I played my first World Golf Championships event and also got to play in the Volvo World Match Play. It really opened up my eyes to how important winning is. It would be great to finish in the top 10 every week, but winning really opens up doors.”
And the win also brings different pressures to players. “It’s difficult, because you don’t want to put pressure on yourself,” he said. “I certainly felt after winning last year that I had made a step up in my career progression, but winning is something you can’t control. It takes care of itself if you put yourself in position enough times. I don’t want to put pressure on every week, but the goal is still to win.”
He’s had a quiet start to his 2014 campaign with missed cuts in the South African Open Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship, but he’s hopeful of turning that trend around. “I’ve had a good record in South Africa. Hopefully this will be my week again. And I’ll probably come back down to South Africa for the Joburg Open and the Tshwane Open,” he said.
But now he’s waiting for fairways at Mount Edgecombe to dry out.