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Walker Cup's Syme on pro debut in Portugal

After finishing ahead of former Champion Golfers Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie on his professional debut at the Portugal Masters last week, Drumoig’s Connor Syme cited playing in the Walker Cup as helping him to produce one of the best performances of tournament – a tied for 12th spot on the leaderboard thanks to a bogey-free weekend.

Connor Syme shakes hands with France's Joel Stalter on the 18<sup>th</sup> green during day four of the Portugal Masters
Connor Syme shakes hands with France's Joel Stalter on the 18th green during day four of the Portugal Masters

Turning professional

The 2017 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year announced his foray into the paid ranks at the beginning of the week and picked up a cheque for around £30,000 by Sunday evening. But Syme, who represented Great Britain and Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club just a few weeks previous, said he prepared for his European Tour debut as if he was playing in any other amateur event.

“I had obviously been preparing for an opportunity like that for a while, well my whole life,” said Syme. “I didn't change anything from how I prepare for amateur events as that's what I've been preparing for the last number of years -  to try and be ready for pro golf.

“Tied for 12th was a great start for me, I played well without having my best stuff so that's very encouraging going forward. I'm happy with the finish, you never really know what to expect but thankfully I handled myself well throughout the week in terms of nerves and that really allowed me to focus on my golf.”

Connor Syme made professional debut at the Portugal Masters.
Connor Syme made professional debut at the Portugal Masters.

Walker Cup and The Open

Syme, who played in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in July after winning Final Qualifying at Gailes Links, said that having that experience behind him was key in making the decision to leave the amateur game and the success behind his head-turning performance in the Algarve.

“The Open and the Walker Cup -  I can't explain how great those experiences were in helping me. I can't imagine I would have felt the way I did without being able to test myself in those environments before turning pro. It was just brilliant to be able to have those experiences banked before turning professional.”

Having agonisingly missed out a starting spot at the British Masters this week – he would have to have finished in the top 10 at the Portugal Masters – Syme confirmed his next professional event will be a bit closer to home.

“My next event is the Dunhill Links (played St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns)– a home event! So, I can't wait for that.”

Connor Syme and Paul McBride team up at the Walker cup.
Connor Syme and Paul McBride team up at the Walker cup.