JAMIE MIST has targeted a victory on home soil before he heads back to continue his USA adventure.
The 20-year-old amateur talent, from Hayling Golf Club, was unfortunate to miss out on a place at next week’s Open Championship after a good display at Royal Cinque Ports in final qualifying.
Rounds of 70 and 72 left him at level par – five strokes behind the final qualifier – but in a creditable tied-10th position.
While he revealed his disappointment at missing out on the St Andrews showpiece, it was further proof of the strides he has made with his game on the other side of the Atlantic that he was well in the hunt among a clutch of European Tour professionals.
Mist, who was a key part of the Hampshire Colts side that beat Kent and Sussex recently, said: ‘I was definitely a bit disappointed I didn’t make it.
‘I was level par for the day with nine holes to play and knew I probably needed four or five birdies down the stretch to have a chance.
‘I hit every green on the back nine but the putts didn’t drop for me unfortunately.
‘I thought my game was in good shape but it was a tough course and it was hard to get it close to the holes to give myself opportunities.
‘I’m playing in the Tillman Trophy at Moor Park next week and the English Amateur at end of the month at Alwoodley.
‘I had a good run at the English Amateur last year and got to the quarter-finals.
‘But I’m looking to do even better this year.
‘I would like to get a win before I go back.’
Mist, who is in the second year of his four-year exercise science course at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, believes his game is now much sharper around the greens with so many tournaments in US College golf.
He said: ‘My short game and chipping has improved a lot – my chipping especially.
‘But my long irons have got better as well. We play a lot of long par-threes so you need to be accurate.
‘It’s a different challenge playing golf over here. There are more different elements to contend with over here.
‘Over there, the ground is quite soft and it is more target golf.
‘They are just different challenges and you have to adapt your game but it’s good to be able to play different types of courses.
‘Going over there has definitely improved my game.
‘The tournaments are set up so well and the standard is very high.’
Having got the lowdown on Jacksonville State from graduate and fellow Hampshire amateur, Tom Robson, Mist has his eyes on a career in the professional ranks.
He said: ‘I spoke to Tom Robson and he had a good four years over there.
‘But it’s been brilliant. My best finish individually was third but we’ve also had two wins as a team.
‘You do the academic side but you play a lot of golf and then come back for the summer to play in the tournaments here. It works perfectly.
‘I would like to turn professional, depending on the circumstances.
‘But I’m not really too sure yet whether I will stay out there or come back.’