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 (£466,000), secured a place in next week’s 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 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 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.

“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 adrenalin. That’s why last week was such a buzz.”