Connor Syme, the 22-year-old who turned professional just two months ago, today sealed his place on the European Tour for 2018.
The Scotsman, attached to Drumoig Golf Centre where he is coached by his father, Stuart, came through the arduous six-round scramble for cards at the European Tour’s Final Qualifying Stage. He joins another young countryman Bradley Neil, 21, on the main circuit next season.
“To be honest, halfway through the year I wasn’t even sure I was going to be turning pro,” admitted Syme. “But a few months down the line I’ve got a full European Tour card. It’s crazy.”
Syme, a GB&I Walker Cup player this year, posted a superb share of ninth place on 17 under par at Lumine Golf Club in Spain, holding his nerve to comfortably be among the top 25 and ties who secured playing rights for the following season.
The 2016 Australian Amateur champion opened with rounds of 72 and 73 at Tarragona in Spain, but then produced a brilliant burst of form to record scores of 63, 67 and 67 where he only dropped one shot over the 54 holes. Syme, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Amateur Championship earlier this season and qualified for The Open at Royal Birkdale, shrugged off a double bogey at the 15th in his final round today to ease to a closing 69.
Syme has progressed through the Scottish Golf ranks and was a double European Amateur team winner as part of national coach Ian Rae’s side in 2015 and 2016. His performance in Spain continues his smooth transition to the paid ranks after making the cut in his first three events on the European Tour following event invitations.
“Wow! I’m officially a European Tour player,” continued Syme, part of the Modest! management group. “It’s hard to explain how I feel. After a very difficult last few weeks in Spain it’s all been worth it. The last few rounds have been awesome.
“To get full status is amazing. I’m delighted to have this chance to test myself against the best players in the world. It’s going to be cool. When you think I was playing Walker Cup only two months ago, it’s just mental.”
“Thanks very much to everyone for the incredible support. I’m looking forward to next season and what it brings,” added Syme, who could start the 2018 season at the Australian PGA in a fortnight’s time.
Syme’s former Scotland team-mate Robert MacIntyre came up just two shorts shy in his bid for a European Tour card.
The left-hander from Glencruitten, the 2015 Scottish Amateur champion, tied for 37th on 11 under par to just miss out, but was still delighted to achieve full playing rights on the Challenge Tour next season having made the four-round cut.
The rookie pro, who also played alongside Syme in this year’s Walker Cup, said on Twitter: “It’s a step in the right direction yet again. Delighted to get my Challenge Tour card and can’t wait to see what next season brings. Big thanks to Bounce Sports for the support so far and here’s to the next stage.”
David Law and Scott Henry also saw their hopes of a European Tour card fall short, with Law tied 42nd (his chances undone by a double bogey on the 12th in his final round after a brave bid) and Henry sharing 54th.
MacIntyre, 21, will join the likes of Grant Forrest (Craigielaw) with full Challenge Tour rights next season.