Dad’s advice pays off for Connor

Dad Stuart (left) passed on some crucial advice to son Connor Syme (centre). Also pictured is Connor's caddy Tim Poyser.
Dad Stuart (left) passed on some crucial advice to son Connor Syme (centre). Also pictured is Connor's caddy Tim Poyser.

Connor Syme revealed that some parental advice helped turn around his maiden European Tour season.

The Drumoig pro has had an up and down start to his life on tour, frustratingly missing a few cuts, but mainly by no more than a couple of shots.

Things started well enough for Connor when he turned professional shortly after representing GB and Ireland in the Walker Cup, with a couple of top 15 finishes at the Portugal Masters and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

His best finish in 12 starts on the European Tour in 2018 has been joint-11th in the Tshwane Open, but making the cut in just three of those other events.

There have been no horror scorecards along the way, though, and with his game looking in decent shape, some words of wisdom from dad Stuart, also his coach at Drumoig Golf Centre, helped buck the trend of missed cuts, and helped Connor to by far his highest finish on tour last weekend, a sole second at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria.

“My dad was out at the Belgian Knockout which was the first time he’s really seen me play since the Dunhill,” said Connor.

“He told me I was a better player but that my preparation had got worse.

“I was out taking too many shots on the range and not giving myself a chance to be fresh.

“So I’ve taken that on board and it’s turned out to be a good thing for me.

“It’s still a learning experience and one thing I’ve learned now is that, after a lesson, it’s ok to go and just chill out.”

The change in prep clearly paid dividends in Austria with Connor’s second place netting him a cheque of nearly £100k and helping him surge to 101st in the Race to Dubai rankings.

A dominant showing from eventual winner Mikko Korhonen meant the race on Sunday was for the runner up spot, with the Drumoig ace locked in a battle for that position with others throughout his final day.

But just when it looked as if he’d have to settle for a share of second, Connor drained a 69 foot putt on the 18th to grab the position outright.

It was massive to his fledgling pro career and his beaming smile, broadcast live on Sky Sports, showed just what it meant.

“I’d missed a five footer not long before and was really disappointed with that,” he said.

“But I didn’t want to look back and just stayed patient.

“I had a feeling that I was going to do something cool on the 18th so to get that putt was brilliant and you could see how much it meant to me and my caddy.

“I knew the position I was in but, taking that putt, to be honest I wasn’t really thinking about it too much.”

Next up for Connor is an appearance at the BMW International Open in Germany.

The European Tour then hosts three of its lucrative Rolex Series events back to back in France, Ireland and Scotland.

Entry into the events is based on the ranking system and Connor’s tour status will see him subject to a re-ranking after Germany.

But the points picked up in Austria should get him into the French Open at the very least.

“I’m really hopeful of getting into the Scottish Open and playing back at home as well,” said Connor.

“It’s a massive event.”