SANDWICH, England - Scott Jamieson is still trying to catch his breath. He's spent the better part of his 27 years dreaming about playing in a major championship and suddenly he's thrust into the fire in a matter of hours.
"It's been an awesome whirlwind journey since holing that last putt (Sunday) to being here," Jamieson said of his last-day qualification into the British Open. "Obviously a lot of fast arrangements had to be made. It's been great fun."
On Sunday at his native country's Scottish Open, the former Augusta State golfer was just another player outside looking in as the oldest golf tournament in the world was getting ready to commence in the opposite corner of Great Britain from the Highlands. Everything changed with a birdie-birdie finish that earned him the 155th spot into the 156-man field at Royal St. George's.
During the two days it took him to first drive home to Glasgow then pack and travel to the Kent coast along the English Channel, Jamieson has had little time to digest the fact that he'll being teeing it up in his first career major today.
"It's unbelievable," he said after his first practice round at St. George's on Tuesday. "You watched it when you were a kid, and to actually be playing in it is a dream come true."
Jamieson wasn't fully aware of the stakes Sunday when he stood over a 12-foot putt on the final hole at Castle Stuart.
"I knew if I didn't make it I definitely wasn't in," he said.
But Jamieson rolled his putt in for a second consecutive birdie while Mark Tullo missed a 3-footer on the last to create a massive logjam in third place. Based on his 158th standing in the world rankings, Jamieson got the reserved spot into the Open Championship. When the news was confirmed by European Tour officials, Jamieson emerged from the scoring trailer with tears in his eyes.
That it took him six years since graduating from Augusta State in 2005 to finally reach this level only makes the experience sweeter.
"When I finished college I didn't assume but I was obviously hoping that I'd have a more seamless transition into the high-paid ranks of professional golf," he said with a chuckle. "That wasn't the case. In a way, the first couple years were probably the hardest as a professional and probably the best thing that ever happened to me. There are so many guys wanting to do it that you really have to work hard if you want to succeed. It's come a long way since the first few years."
The Glasgow native has been playing links golf much of his life. St. George's is one of the more extreme courses in the Open rota.
While it's his major championship debut, Jamieson isn't entirely unfamiliar with the Sandwich links. He played the British Amateur at St. George's in 2005, losing in the quarterfinals.
"The rough was very severe when we played the Amateur here and a lot's been said about how severe it was when the Open was last here," Jamieson said. "But I'd say it's very fair. The rough is a bit bad in spots but it's not like it's coming out sideways. For the most part you'll still have a chance of getting on the green but with no control. If you hit the fairways you have a chance of hopefully getting a couple close."
The intensity of his maiden trip in a major hasn't overcome him yet.
"I'm going to treat it like any other tournament," he said. "When I stand on the first tee (today) I'm sure I'll be nervous then, but you're always a little bit nervous on your first tee shot of any tournament."
Less than a year ago, Jamieson was still playing on the Challenge Tour in events such as the Kazakhstan Open. But after finally securing his full European Tour card this season, his game has stepped up. He finished fifth in Sicily, third in Spain, third in Germany and third again last week in Scotland.
"Having a few good results is the biggest thing," he said of the boost in confidence this season. "And even on the days when you don't play your best, you evaluate yourself with the rest of the field and realize everyone is making mistakes. It accentuates the motto that you don't have to be perfect. Mistakes happen and it's how you react to those mistakes that can be the difference."
Playing week to week with former Jaguar teammates Oliver Wilson and Jamie Elson, Jamieson is proud of the consecutive NCAA championships won by his alma mater. It has certainly raised his college's profile among peers and golf fans across the world.
"It's changed since the first few years," he said. "When I'd say Augusta State, they didn't even know where Augusta was other than the golf fans who know the Masters. Now over here you say Augusta State and they say, 'Oh, they're a really good team.'"
With his home nation's major now on his resume, Jamieson has his sites set on earning a return trip to his collegiate home's annual tournament.
"That'll be the next one," he said of the Masters Tournament. "That will be pretty sweet."
Jamieson believes he's on the right path to make it back to Augusta soon enough.
"The things that I'm doing right now are working," he said. "So if it's not broke, don't fix it."