Connor turns heads on his pro debut

Connor Syme hit the ground running in his first professional appearance.
Connor Syme hit the ground running in his first professional appearance.

As professional debuts go, Connor Syme's at the weekend's Portugal Masters really couldn't have gone much better.

The Drumoig 22-year-old moved on from the amateur ranks ahead of the European Tour event following his swansong as part of the GB and Ireland team at the recent Walker Cup.

It wasn't entirely a step into the unknown, with Syme having competed at Tour events in the past as an amateur player.

But it was surely daunting all the same, knowing that this time, for the first time, he was lining up as a professional, against a field of players who for them, and now Syme too, this is the day job.

It's difficult to single out one positive from the weekend's showing; there are simply so many of them.

First of all, making the cut in a professional debut would have been an achievement in itself - but it was something the winner of this year's Crail Battle Trophy did with minimal fuss.

Syme made the weekend comfortably, but a further test would come on the Saturday.

It would have been understandable, and not entirely unexpected, if a recent amateur, breaking new ground in his fledgling pro-career, allowed the pressure of being part of 'moving day' get to him as seasoned pros jostled for position near the top of the leader board.

Instead Syme refused to budge, and shot a bogey free 68 on Saturday to keep himself in contention going into the final day's play.

That lack of bogeys across all four days was to be another trait which impressed.

Across his first 72 holes as a pro, Syme scored bogey just three times - none of them coming over the pressure of Saturday or Sunday's play.

In the end he finished in a tie for 12th place at a competition won by Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard, carded rounds of 68, 69, 68 and 67 in a hugely promising display and earned himself €29,050.

The plaudits continued on social media well into Sunday night.

One of them came from them One Direction star Niall Horan, one of the directors at MODEST! Golf Management which Syme signed to ahead of his pro-debut.

Horan Tweeted: "Scenes! 2weeks ago he was an amateur golfer.This week he is T12 at #PortugalMasters on the@EuropeanTour . Congratulations @connor_syme"

Following his maiden event as a professional, Syme said: "It was an unbelievable week and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"It shows I can compete at this level.

"This is just the start of my pro career and hopefully I can kick on from here."