Paul Lawrie is predicting “big things” for Connor Syme after helping the 22-year-old amateur prepare for his major debut in the 146th Open Championship in Southport.
Having been a two-time winner of the Junior Jug event run by the Aberdonian’s foundation, Lawrie already knew all about Syme before he came through one of the final qualifiers at Gailes Links to set up this dream opportunity.
That didn’t stop the 1999 winner handing out praise, though, after the pair played a practice round together, with Syme’s dad and coach, Drumoig Golf Centre PGA pro Stuart, also walking round with them inside the ropes.
“He was very impressive,” said Lawrie of world No 8 and last year’s Australian Amateur champion. “I had not played with him before, but he has got all of the shots. He has great ball flight, keeps it down easily and is a nice lad, too. I think we’ll see big things from him.He is the first Junior Jug winner to play in The Open, which is nice, and I think he will kick on.”
Lawrie, who is playing in the event for the 25th time, has gone back to basics this week after missing the cut by nine shots in last week’s Scottish Open following rounds of 77 and 76 at Dundonald Links. “Last week was just awful – it was probably as bad as I can play,” he said. “I really struggled off the tee and couldn’t get the ball in play around there. It was just one of those weeks and I got what I deserved.
“This week I am trying to get back to basics, take the club away slowly, get a bit of height and better posture. All the little things that I have worked on throughout my career.
“If the wind blows and the course is playing tough you have got to keep it simple. If you start getting complicated with swing thoughts then you could really go out there for a few.”