Murray and Jamieson Go One-Up on McIlroy in Egypt
Scotland’s George Murray and Scott Jamieson went one-up on Ryder Cup star Rory McIlroy at the Egyptian Open presented by SODIC yesterday (Wednesday), with Murray outscoring the World Number Nine by an impressive four shots in Cairo.
As McIlroy toiled with a swing change he has been trying to implement since his unforgettable Ryder Cup debut, Murray and Jamieson – both on course to join the Northern Irish superstar on The European Tour next season via the top 20 on the Challenge Tour Rankings – posted respective first round scores of five under 67 and three under 69 at the JW Marriott Mirage City Golf Club.
McIlroy’s one under 71 could have been a lot worse but for a typically cavalier finish of three consecutive birdies that brought him back into the tournament, but he still trails Jamieson by two and Murray by four strokes – not to mention the leader Alessandro Tadini of Italy by six with three rounds to go in the Egyptian Capital.
Murray, looking to secure a second win of the season following his success in the Scottish Hydro Challenge at the Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club in the summer, was delighted with his opening effort at the $250,000 event.
“It was a good day, one of those days where I was level one minute and then five under the next,”
said Murray who is currently ninth on the Challenge Tour Rankings with just two events of the season remaining.
“I played well here last year so hopefully I can do that again because it is a big week for me – if I can have a good finish here then that would go a long way to securing my place in the top ten on the Rankings which is what you want because it gives you a great Tour card for next year.
“As long as I don’t think about that on the golf course then I will be alright. I am looking forward to be on the Tour next year and have had a great season this year so I am pretty proud of that – I just want to finish it off in these next two weeks.
“It’s great that Rory is here – I played against him in my amateur days and even then you knew that he was a special talent. He has improved a hell of a lot since then. You don’t get to World Number Nine and play in The Ryder Cup by accident – he is a class act. It would be great to play with him in the last group this week to gauge how far I have to go and to see just how good he is.”
While Murray and Jamieson outscored McIlroy, Jamie McLeary and Raymond Russell matched his one under 71, with Ross Bain and Eric Ramsay on level par 72. McIlroy’s 2007 Walker Cup team-mate Lloyd Saltman joined Callum Macaulay on two over 74, with Wallace Booth posting a 76 and Steven Burton an 82.