Syme staying cool as Race to Dubai reaches final straight

Drumoig's Connor Syme is competing at this week's Dunhill. Pic by John Stewart.
Drumoig's Connor Syme is competing at this week's Dunhill. Pic by John Stewart.

Connor Syme is in a relaxed frame of mind as the European Tour campaign nears its conclusion.

With just a few events left on the calendar, the Drumoig 23-year-old is within touching distance of the tour’s Race to Dubai top 110 rankings.

Those finishing inside that mark are given automatic playing rights for the main tour next season, and to do so would be an excellent achievement for the local golfer who only turned pro last year and is still on his first year on tour.

Connor goes into this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 121st position, but a repeat of his top 15 finish at the event from last year would see him pick up enough points to surge up the rankings.

The Dunhill, played over three Angus and Fife courses, is home territory for Connor, and he’ll no doubt be cheered on by an army of family and friends.

He said: “I’m looking forward to teeing up on Thursday and I’m just going to enjoy it and play one shot at a time.

“Myself and Liam Johnston (fellow Scottish golfer) were able to play a bit over the past couple of days at Carnoustie which has been fantastic preparation for us.”

Connor competed at last year’s event shortly after turning pro.

His top 15 finish at the event, ending -11, laid the foundations for a great couple of months in which he picked up his European Tour card shortly afterwards.

It’s been an up and down start to life on tour for Connor, a second place finish at the Austrian Shot Clock Masters a real high, but with a series of narrow missed cuts causing him not to be able to pick up as many points as he’d have liked.

Despite that, he’s perched nicely to make a final push and aims to do enough to win his tour card outright again next season.

He admits there have been opportunities missed along the way, but is delighted to still be in the hunt for a card.

He said: “The last couple of months have been difficult and I haven’t played my best golf.

“Since the Scottish Open I’ve played seven events which is a lot of competitive golf, so it’s been good to have a bit of break last week and enjoy the Ryder Cup.”

A lot of seasoned pros, along with new players to the tour like Connor, are all scrambling for points to help them retain their tour card.

It’s a nerve wracking time of the campaign to those on the fringes of the top 110.

But for Connor, playing at this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, almost literally on his doorstep, could hand him an advantage over others.

“I want to keep my card and I know I have to play well to do that,” he said.

“I’m excited about the Dunhill, I know the courses well and it’s a great opportunity for me.

“There’s a bit of pressure on but I want to go out and put on a good performance.

“Where I am at the moment in the rankings isn’t ideal and not where I want to be.

“I’ve missed a few cuts by just one or two shots, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

“I’m not totally deflated and want to grab my chance now this week.”

Connor started his Dunhill campaign at the Old Course on Thursday morning.

He’ll play at Kingsbarns tomorrow (Friday) and then Carnoustie on Saturday before hopefully making it inside the top 60 and ties who’ll play the final day on Sunday at the Old Course.

In the pro-am section of the tournament, Syme has been paired with Linkin Park guitarist Dave Farrell.

Entry is free to all courses for the opening three days.