Red-hot Scots set pace in Eisenhower Trophy

Drumoig's Connor Syme led the way in Mexico with a six-under-par 66

Drumoig's Connor Syme led the way in Mexico with a six-under-par 66

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Connor Syme led the way as Scotland, the 2008 winners, got off to a blistering start in the Eisenhower Trophy by setting the pace in Mexico.

Opening their title bid at Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, Syme, Grant Forrest and Robert MacIntyre all carded sub-par scores as high hopes for the trio heading into the event were vindicated.

Syme’s six-under-par 66, the joint-best individual effort of the opening day, was backed up by both Forrest and MacIntyre as they signed for 68 and 69 respectively in hot and humid conditions.

With the two best scores counting, the Scots are sitting on 10-under-par, leading by one from Australia, with Spain a shot further back in third place. 
Ireland, Poland and Thailand are joint-fourth on six-under, a shot ahead of Team USA, the defending champions and title favourites, as well as France, Switzerland and Japan.

Scotland’s 134 total tied the third-lowest first-round score in the event’s history. Team USA set the opening-round record with a 131 in 2012 and also posted a 132 in 2004.

“We are delighted to get off to a good start - it has been awesome for the team to have such a good day,” admitted Drumoig man Syme, the Australian Amateur champion.

“I felt good on the range this morning and was happy with how I was hitting the ball. I was five-under through the front nine, I just kept going and was hitting the ball really well.”

The 21-year-old, whose effort was matched later in the day by Poland’s Adrian Meronk, added: “It’s a demanding course off the tee. My strength today was accuracy off the tee, so I had a lot of good opportunities.”

The trio are all members of the side that helped Scotland retain the European title in the summer and came into this event sitting inside the top 30 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

“The players know they have a good chance to do well here,” said Scotland captain Claire Queen. “It’s been a really good first day and that will give them more belief for the remainder of the championship.”

National coach Ian Rae added: “Today’s performance just shows how good the team is. The boys are in good spirits and looking forward to the challenges over the next three days.”

The Scots held a two-shot lead in the clubhouse until Australia, represented by Harrison Endicott, Cameron Davis and Curtis Luck, came in with their nine-under-par opening salvo.

Led by a 67 from Davis, they also produced three par-breaking efforts and captain Matt Cutler admitted: “We’ve come here with high expectations.”

World No 1 Maverick McNealy carded a 70 to back up a 67 from Brad Dalke as Team USA opened their bid on the other course being used for the event, Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Club.

Also playing at that venue, Paul McBride shot a five-under 66 for Ireland while team-mate Stuart Grehan had a 70.

England, led by Amateur champion Scott Gregory, are sitting just outside the top 10 on three-under.

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