Scotland's Richie Ramsay has set his sights on the "Holy Grail" of golf after kickstarting his season with his best performance for more than two years.
Ramsay's tie for second in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was his first top-10 finish of the year and most impressive result since claiming the third of his European Tour titles in the Hassan Trophy in March 2015.
A closing 65 also gave Ramsay the biggest payday of his career (€520,000), secured a place in next week’s British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and lifted him from 341st in the world rankings to 170th.
And the 34-year-old from Aberdeen is now focused on climbing into the world's top 50 to book a second appearance in the US Masters, having qualified in 2007 courtesy of his victory in the previous year's US Amateur.
“The top 50 is like the Holy Grail in golf,” Ramsay, who reached a high of 52nd in 2012, said ahead of this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
“It changes your schedule and I’ve always wanted to play the Masters again. That’s my favourite golf course, my favourite event.
“I won’t lie, somebody asked me what were you thinking down the stretch in Ireland and you do think about the impact. It’s a $7million event. You think about the impact it can have if you win the event, like life-changing.
“You can go into the majors or move up the Race to Dubai and you can play wherever you want. All of those things go through your head.
“World rankings come into it, but every time I thought about that I moved back to what I had to do, which was focus on the shot and just pick off a yardage, pick the wind and focus on my process, and I did that really well.
“I think top 50 starts with a solid foundation, which is a good plan. And then from there you have a team around you, which I feel that I’ve got, and just trying to execute.
“And I haven’t executed that well this year, but I feel that l’ve stayed really patient and just tried to do the day-to-day stuff well.”
Ramsay was sixth in last year's Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and would love to be back in contention at Dundonald Links, which is hosting the event for the first time and boasts a field which includes Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Alex Noren.
“Last year I got the feeling coming down the stretch, playing some really good golf, trying to play to win,” Ramsay added. “When you hole putts, there’s different kinds of cheers. There’s more impetus.
“You realise that it’s the Scottish Open, it’s a major for us and career-defining. Scottish Open, Dunhill (Links), they are right there. And now we have it in the Rolex Series so the prize money, strength of field, all those ingredients elevate the tournament even more.
“I’m quite competitive and losing is not a thing that I like to do. I want to be up there in the mix. That’s where you get the butterflies, that’s where you feel adrenaline.
“That’s why last week was such a buzz. The best way to describe it, it’s like a drug. It’s like an adrenaline rush.”