Scottish Golf Courses

EXCLUSIVE Syme sets his sights on US Amateur

Drumoig star Connor targeting Oakland Hills, reveals dad

By Michael McEwan

The father of Scots ace Connor Syme has told Scottish Club Golfer that the 20-year-old is targeting qualifying for the US Amateur Championship after starting his season with a bang ‘Down Under’.

Stuart Syme, Connor’s dad and coach, said that winning the Australian Amateur Championship in January saw his son accomplish one of his big targets for the season. Consequently, his goals have been adjusted, with a spot in the US Amateur field now near the top of his list of priorities.

“Winning a national title was the main aim for Connor this year,” explained Stuart, owner of the Drumoig Golf Centre, near St Andrews. “We thought that was a perfectly achievable goal for him but, with him doing it so early in the year, we’ve had to adjust the plans a little bit. Getting into the US Amateur would be the next logical big goal.”

DIVISORS

To do so, Syme Jnr will need to push his way into the top 50 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings. At the time of writing, he sat just three places outside it. However, Stuart added that they would resist the temptation to play ‘anywhere and everywhere’ to bump him up the order.

He added: “Because of the way the ranking’s divisors work, there’s a chance he’d be better off not playing some tournaments, so we’ll need to plan carefully and make
sure he doesn’t over-play.”

Connor, right, secured the Australian Amateur crown with a 3&2 victory over home hopeful Travis Smyth in Melbourne. In doing so, he became the third Scot to land the title in the last 13 years, following Jack Doherty in 2003 and Eric Ramsay in 2005.

“Before he left for Australia, everything about Connor’s game was bang-on,” added Stuart. “His stats were excellent and he was hitting it great. I said to him, ‘You’re ready to win’ and, sure enough, he did just that.

“He’s a very level-headed young guy. I’ve had selectors come up to me after watching him play and tell me that they wouldn’t have been able to tell from his demeanour on the course if he was five-under or five-over. That’s something that will stand him in great stead. I’ve always told him that it’s important to treat success and adversity the same and not to get too worked up if and when things don’t go his way.

SIMPLE

“When he was a bit younger, like most guys, he would get a bit annoyed if somebody hit it 30 yards past him. Now, though, he realises it’s more important to hit fairways, to hit greens
and to keep everything as simple as possible.

It’s great to see that all of his hard work is paying off.”

Stuart added that Connor’s Australian Amateur heroics had also been good for business.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that, before we took over the Drumoig centre, it had run into some tough times,” he said. “However, that’s all changed. It’s a top-class facility now, with some exciting plans in the pipeline for the next few months. Having Connor representing it - and representing it so well - on the wider golf scene has helped put it back on the map. The driving range has been busier since he won and the lessons are up, too. It’s fair to say that it’s been a fantastic start to the year all round.”

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