Connor eyes Spanish Open chance after Dunhill heroics

Connor Syme plays his final round at St Andrews on the way to a top 15 finish. Pic by John Stewart.
Connor Syme plays his final round at St Andrews on the way to a top 15 finish. Pic by John Stewart.

Connor Syme is hoping to squeeze another European Tour event into his schedule before he heads to qualifying school next month.

Playing in just his second event as a pro at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship over the weekend, the 22-year-old from Drumoig again turned heads with his top 15 finish on home territory.

It followed on from a 12th place at the Portugal Masters a few weeks before.

Syme clearly has a taste for the pro-game, and wants to keep his momentum going ahead of the European Tour Qualifying School where he’ll aim to win playing rights.

He said: “There may be an opportunity for me to play the Spanish Open so myself and my management team are fighting to get an invite to it.”

Given his exciting start as a pro, there’s no doubt Syme would be a solid addition to any tour event.

At the Dunhill he carried the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd, friends and family terrifically well on his young shoulders.

An opening level par round of 72 at Carnoustie was a decent enough start, but it was over the next three days that Syme excelled.

Playing just a few miles from home on Friday at Kingsbarns, Syme used his course knowledge to terrific effect, finding line after line as he rifled countless approach shots within birdie distance.

His round was summed up with a final hole birdie on the day, a terrific iron shot putting him to within a foot of the pin.

That momentum carried into the Saturday, where five birdies on the back nine saw Syme ease into the final day.

The trend continued, a bogey free -6 round helping him to a -11 finish and a share of 15th.

“I’m really pleased with the way I played the last 27 holes,” said this year’s Crail Battle Trophy winner.

“It pushed me from maybe missing the cut to the top 15.

“Going into Sunday Tyrrell Hatton was running away with things at the top so for me it was just about trying to push into that top 10 if I could.

“I like to set myself targets and that was what we wanted to do.

“The scoring was going to be pretty low so there was an opportunity to do that.

“Going down the back nine I still had a chance but there was so much good scoring I ended in 15th.”

Few players have the chance to compete in front of their home crowd in the way Syme did on Sunday.

The family’s golf centre at Drumoig is only a few miles from the Dunhill courses.

“It was great,” said the 22-year-old.

“Playing at home like that, you’re out there and there’s nowhere to hide.

“My girlfriend, family, friends and people from the golf range were all out supporting me and every time I made a birdie or par I could hear it.”

Overall the Scots in the Dunhill field played well, with David Drysdale, Stephen Gallagher and Marc Warren all finishing in the top 15 with Syme.