McIlroy hails flawless Syme ahead of Dunhill

Drumoig's Connor Syme paired with Rory McIlroy for his Wednesday practice round. Pic by John Stewart.
Drumoig's Connor Syme paired with Rory McIlroy for his Wednesday practice round. Pic by John Stewart.

Connor Syme could hardly have been in better company as he prepared for his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship challenge.

The Drumoig 22-year-old plays just his second event as a professional this week over Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews.

Ahead of tomorrow’s tee off at Carnoustie, Syme spent his practice day on Wednesday going around the Old Course with former world number one Rory McIlroy.

And the Northern Irishman joined Syme’s now increasing list of fans saying he “didn’t see any weaknesses” in the Fifer’s game.

Syme was grateful for the praise ahead of his competition starting, which will see him compete at Kingsbarns on Friday and the Old Course (Saturday).

He said: “It’s great to hear Rory talking highly about my game and it was great to play with him.

“It’s a great insight for me to see how he does it.

“He’s obviously been at the top of the game for a very long time.

“You know, it definitely means a lot to have that coming from Rory.

“I’ll just kind of keep on doing what I’m doing and obviously his game is a little different than mine with how far I can hit the ball.

“Everyone has their different strengths and you just have to stick to your own game with that.”

Coincidently, McIlroy too played his second event as a young pro at the Dunhill and won his tour card, something Syme hopes to emulate.

It was a point the Northern Irishman made out to Syme as the pair made their way around the Old Course.

“He mentioned it going down the first,” said Syme

“It was obviously a big stepping-stone for him.

“He spoke how it was his ambition to do it (win his Tour card) but you can’t really think about that sort of thing.

“When it comes around, I’ll grab the opportunity with both hands.

“For me, I’m well away from thinking about that.

“If it becomes a good week, then brilliant, but I’m looking forward to the challenge for sure.”

Syme’s maiden performance as a pro came a couple of weeks back at the Portugal Masters where he finished in an impressive tie for 12th place.

Once his tilt at the Dunhill is over, Syme will gear himself up for a shot at European Tour qualifying school as he aims to collect his card for next season. “I go straight into stage two, that’s in November,” he added.

“A few weeks before that, it’s kind of a bit stop/start.

“Obviously I don’t have any status anywhere. Maybe a few invites here and there.

“But really, it’s just all kind of geared around stage two.

“Certainly that’s where my head’s at.”

Entrance to the Dunhill is free Friday and Saturday.