8am Round-Up: Connor Syme to play with former champions in Australian Open

Connor Syme
Connor Syme
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Connor Syme has been paired with former champions Robert Allenby and Peter Lonard in the opening two rounds of this week’s Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney.

While Curtis Luck, another of the amateurs in the field, has landed the dream draw with Jordan Spieth, Syme will be in the company of two double winners of the event.

Allenby claimed the title in 1994 then again in 2005 while Lonard recorded back-to-back victories in 2003 and 2004.

It’s the first time that tournament organisers have put amateurs in marquee groups, adding to the occasion for Syme, who earned his place in the field by winning the Australian Amateur Championship earlier in the year.

“There seems to be a new wave of calmness with some of these new young amateur guys,” said tournament director Trevor Herden.

“I think they’re more ready than what they were say, five, six, seven years ago and we’ve got a good group of them, so I haven’t got any problems with that now.”

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Two Scots – David Law and Bradley Neil – reached the halfway stage in the marathon six-round European Tour Qualifying School in Spain in card-winning positions.

Double Scottish Amateur champion Law carded a two-under-par 68 on the Tour Course – one of the best efforts on a windy day at PGA Catalunya – to sit joint-fifth on seven-under-par after 54 holes.

In a battle to finish among the top 25 and ties, Neil, the 2014 Amateur champion, is two shots behind his compatriot in joint-13th after a battling 71 on the same course.

As English duo Robert Coles and Richard McEvoy continued to sit at the top of the leaderboard after matching 71s for nine-under totals, Scott Henry and Ross Kellett also stayed in the hunt.

Henry is joint-29th on three-under following a 70 while Kellett is in a share of 48th after a 73 left him on one-under.

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Two all-star pairings have been confirmed for the new two-man team format for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Featuring two rounds each of foursome and fourball competition, the event will see world No 1 Jason Day partner 2015 Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler at TPC Louisiana next April.

Equally exciting is the prospect of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, the Olympic gold and silver medallists respectively in Rio in the summer, joining forces.

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European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has confirmed that Patrick Reed will continue to be a member of the European Tour in 2017.

The American retains membership of the Tour by “virtue of his victory in the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship”.

Endorsing the decision, Pelley said: “We are delighted to announce that Patrick will return to action on the European Tour for the 2017 season.

“He is one of the game’s most exciting talents, as everyone who witnessed his electrifying performance at this year’s Ryder Cup will testify to, and our fans look forward to seeing him in action again next year.”

Welcoming the news, Reed said: “I love to compete and I take pride in the fact that I have both my PGA Tour card and my European Tour card.

“I am grateful that I will continue to be a part of the European Tour and I value the opportunity to play with the best players in the world, all over the world.”