Connor Syme set for 'marquee grouping' in Australian Open

Connor Syme could find himself playing with either Jordan Spieth or Adam Scott in the Australian Open at Royal Sydney in a fortnight's time.

Drumoig's Connor Syme earned his exciting end-of-year opportunities through winning the Australian Amateur Championship in January
Drumoig's Connor Syme earned his exciting end-of-year opportunities through winning the Australian Amateur Championship in January

As the Australian Amateur champion, the 21-year-old Scot is set to be in one of the “marquee groupings, which will include a former Australian Open champion”, according to tournament director Trevor Herden.

Spieth, the winner two years ago, is returning for another crack at the title while home favourite Scott, the champion in 2009, is also set to be in the star-studded field.

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The event is one of three Syme is playing in during a month-long trip Down Under, having started his “Australian adventure” with a one-over-par 73 today in the Federal Amateur Open in Canberra.

It is basically a warm up for two exciting opportunties ahead for the world No 25 - next week’s New South Wales Open then that Australian Open appearance.

“It is good to be competing again,” Syme told The Scotsman. “I feel much more refreshed after a month off after the World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico and I am looking forward to the challenge again.”

Syme earned his exciting end-of-year chances after becoming the third Scot after Jack Doherty and Eric Ramsay, the winners in 2003 and 2005 respectively, to lift the Australian Amateur title.

His triumph came at the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, where the Fifer beat home hope Travis Smyth 3&2 in the final.

“It’s great to be back in Oz,” said Syme, who is being accompanied by his dad and coach, Drumoig Golf Centre pro Stuart.

“This is the first time I’ve visited Sydney, so it’s a little different to the start of the year, when were all in Melbourne. It’s great to come back as the national champion, though, for sure.

“That win gave me great belief that I can win at the highest level in international golf. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing that if I was in that position again I can draw on that win knowing I can do it.”

While both Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson recently turned professional, Syme said he is in no rush to join his two compatriots.

“I’m looking at two years’ time, give or take,” he said. “My team of instructors all got together recently and we had a great discussion over a plan to try and prepare me best for this.

“It’s obviously adaptable depending on the golf but, that’s our thoughts at the minute.

“Once I’m home from Oz, I’ll get some good work down with physio and strength and conditioning coaches Maggie Hendry and Barry Jones to get me be best prepared physically for 2017.”

One of Syme’s top targets next year will be the Walker Cup, which is being played at Los Angeles Country Club in September.

He is also hoping to benefit the way both Forrest and Ferguson did this year by getting to play in some Challenge Tour events as amateurs.

“I was lucky to get a couple of starts as well this year, which was great,” admitted Syme. “They are invaluable learning experiences and so helpful for experience.

“It will be a very busy amateur schedule next year, especially with the Walker Cup in mind. But I would love to tee it up on the Challenge Tour again, given the opportunity.”