Connor Syme and Bob MacIntyre into last 32 in US Amateur
Drumoig man Syme beat world No 2 Maverick McNealy 2&1 at Riviera Country Club, where Glencruitten left-hander MacIntyre chalked up an equally-impressive one-hole victory over another American, Cameron Young.
Syme, who had already enhanced his hopes of making the first Walker Cup team to be captained by fellow Scot Craig Watson by qualifying for last month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, must surely have nailed down his spot now after claiming McNealy’s prized scalp.
The Fifer effectively earned his notable victory by winning three holes in a row from the ninth, making an eagle-2 at the 10th then a birdie at the 11th to leave McNealy with a mountain to climb over the closing stretch.
And, though the American got himself back within touching distance after pars proved good enough at the 13th and 14th, his opponent shut the door by going two up thanks to a birdie-3 at the 16th.
“Sucks to leave early but great playing by @connor_syme,” wrote McNealy on Twitter in giving credit to his conqueror. “Hoping for a rematch at LACC (Los Angeles Country Club, venue for the Walker Cup) in two weeks.”
Syme said: “He’s been right at the top of the rankings for the last three, four years probably. Obviously got massive respect for his game, and as a person he’s such a nice guy.
“I played very, very solid and tried not to give him much. I always thought was going to come back at me, which he did.”
Given his great match-play record - he won the Scottish Amateur two years ago at Muirfield before reaching the final of the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl last season - MacIntyre also looked to have a strong Walker Cup claim before this event.
However, it certainly won’t have done him any harm whatsoever to have followed up successfully negotiating the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying phase in California by also pulling off a hard-fought win over Young.
The Scot won the second and third, lost the 10th to a birdie before going two up again after 12th. He then lost the 16th to a birdie-2 before halving 17th in bogeys then the last in par-4s.