Syme Thrilled To Be Returning To Royal Portrush After Qualifying For The Open.

Connor Syme is proudly returning to Royal Portrush five years after first playing the course now among five Scots to be competing in the 2019 Open Championship.

Syme, who turns 24 on July 11th, secured the second qualifying place thanks to a pair of 67s over a mixture of 18 holes at the two Fairmont Resort courses to the east of St. Andrews.

In 2014, Syme made it through to the semi-finals of the Amateur Championship and now he is returning thanks to his efforts and just a 15-minute drive from his home at Drumoig.

“The experience of qualifying in 2017 at Gailes really helped me today,” said this year’s Turkish Airlines Challenge winner.

“I didn’t feel nervous at all today, which was great. I stuck to my game plan and doing what I was doing.

“I got to the semis at Portrush in 2014. It was my first year as a senior golfer. I struggled a bit at the start of that year but that was a kind of breakthrough. I’ve been totally focused on the Challenge Tour this year.

“The thing is also when I didn’t get through U.S. Open qualifying we sat down as a team and had a chat about what the goals would be. The Challenge Tour is the main focus.

“So I hadn’t really thought about Open qualifying that much. I was just trying to rest after a hectic spell.

“My experiences I had of playing the 2017 at Birkdale were massive. I still do my yardage boos the way I done it there. It was a great week and has helped me so much as a professional.”

Though it was not all plain sailing for Connor who was clearly affected by the actions of his Spanish-born playing partner, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra and also the Spaniard’s caddy, who could be heard jiggling tees at times during the second round.

Indeed, there was the sight of Connor talking with Lopez-Chaccarra for some five minutes outside the scorer’s hut before the two shoot hands.

“It was difficult and Eugenio’s a very good player and plays quickly,” said Syme.

“I tried not to be distracted but it was too much. It was his caddie who did. He apologised. He (the player) reacted a bit funny about it but it’s tough in the heat of the battle. We probably just needed five minutes to chat about what happened but it’s hard in that environment. We spoke at the end and it was fine. It happens all the time, when you’re younger you learn as you go along. I don’t want it to overshadow what was a very good day. It was a heated discussion and as anyone who knows me, I hate heated discussions. It didn’t affect me though.”

Syme’s big decision now after qualifying for The Open is to whether or not tee-up in Saturday’s Scottish Open qualifier at Longniddry.

“I’m still humming and hawing about the Scottish Open qualifier to be honest. I need to make a decision. I’d love to play the Scottish but I have Challenge Tour to focus on too and if I can get myself promoted then I’ll hopefully have the Scottish Open next year,” he said.

“I played four weeks in a row and two qualifiers, so that’s my max. There are so many events, you can’t play in everything.”


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