Connor steps up to the mark in impressive professional debut

Connor and his caddie Tim Poyser executed their game plan perfectly in Portugal. Pic by Ian Rutherford.
Connor and his caddie Tim Poyser executed their game plan perfectly in Portugal. Pic by Ian Rutherford.

There was a massive social media buzz around Connor Syme’s performance at last weekend’s Portugal Masters - but typically the down to earth 22-year-old took things all in his stride.

Fans and pundits alike pored over themselves to heap deserving praise on the way the Drumoig ace had handled his maiden professional appearance.

In a field which included Major winners, regulars of both the European and PGA Tours and Ryder Cup stars, Syme was unfazed and started his life in the pro ranks with a12th place finish.

One Direction pop star Niall Horan, a director of MODEST! Golf, the management company Syme signed with recently, led the plaudits, Tweeting: “Scenes! 2weeks ago he was an amateur golfer. This week he is T12 at #Portugal Masters on the @European Tour . Congratulations @connor_syme”

But the newly turned professional won’t be one to get swept away in the praise, and instead set his sights on making a similar impression at next weekend’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Speaking of his performance in Portugal, Syme said: “I was really happy with my consistency and how I played over the last couple of days was really pleasing.

“I can take a lot of confidence from the start I’ve made.

“It was great to make the cut so early as a professional which gets that monkey off my back right away.”

The transition from the amateur game to the pro ranks will no doubt be a difficult one, with history littered with top class amateurs who have failed to make the grade.

But Syme reckons the help he has been given as a young amateur will stand him in good stead.

“Turning pro has been something we’ve been planning since July,” he said.

“But before that, thanks to the support from Scottish Golf and Aberdeen Asset Management, I’ve been able to prepare like a professional for around three or four years.

“The lead up to the competition this time wasn’t any different for me, it was just about stepping up to the mark on the golf course.”

And step up to the mark he certainly did, opening rounds of 68 and 69 making sure Syme stayed well ahead of the cut mark.

In fact, he was barely out of the top 15 all weekend, and complimented his first two days with bogey free scores of 68 and 67 on Saturday and Sunday.

“Going into Saturday I just had to keep level headed,” he said.

“Tim Poyser has been helping me caddy and we thought up a plan for the weekend about what flags to attack.

“As the last two rounds went by, all I was thinking was ‘Hey, I can do this’.”

Syme has been handed an invitation for the Alfred Dunhill by event organisers.