Birthday boy and getting married - why Connor Syme wants to make it a triple celebration

Scots chasing Open spots as more than half of Scottish Open field are already exempt

Connor Syme turned 29 on Thursday and has a wedding on the horizon. He’s hoping to make it a triple celebration by also securing a spot in the 152nd Open at Royal Troon next week.

Three spots in the season’s final major are up for grabs in this week’s Genesis Scottish Open. With more than half the field for the Rolex Series event already exempt for The Open, it’s a big opportunity for the likes of Syme.

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“You're absolutely right,” he said after getting off to a solid start with a two-under-par 68 in the tougher morning conditions on the East Lothian coast.

Connor Syme walks alongside his caddie, Ryan McGuigan during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.Connor Syme walks alongside his caddie, Ryan McGuigan during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Connor Syme walks alongside his caddie, Ryan McGuigan during day one of the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Referring to the fact so many players have already punched their Troon ticket, he added: “Obviously, it's way different to the other opportunities we've had leading up to this and it would be awesome. But I'm just trying to do my thing. We chatted about it a bit the other day and, for now, I’m just trying to play the Scottish Open.”

Bob MacIntyre, who is already exempt for next week along with Ewen Ferguson, Jack McDonald and amateur Calum Scott, opened with a 67, which was matched by local man Grant Forrest late in the day.

Richie Ramsay, who sits alongside Syme on two under, also has sights set on The Open, having made his eight appearance in the Claret Jug event at Royal Liverpool 12 months ago.

“I was all over the place after Germany last week and was struggling a bit,” admitted Ramsay, a four-time DP World Tour winner. But we got working a bit on the range and then on Wednesday I found something which was similar to what I had in Switzerland last year and just kind of ground it out.

“It was just a little move in the shoulders and the range session I had on Wednesday was unbelievable, one of the best I’ve had. I could flight it, strike it, do exactly what I wanted to do. I took that confidence into today.

“I know where I am in my career and I’m up against guys who have 180 mph ball speed. It’s tough. But I played my own game today and stuck in there. I relish that challenge though. I feel like when you play with these players you get pulled up to their standard. I used to go the Scottish Open at Gleneagles to watch. This feels like a really big event. It’s where you want to be.”

Echoing that view, Syme said: “The crowds were huge today. Yeah, it was quality. I think it must have been Bob and Rory's game when we were playing down the fifth, and I was like, how many people is that? It's so, so cool to see. I think people are starting to enjoy the venue. It's a great place, great location, and, yeah, we're lucky to be here. So it's cool to see people out watching.”

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Scott Jamieson and Calum Hill carded matching 69s, with David Law signing for a 72 and Ferguson, last week’s BMW International Open winner in Munich, the odd one out among the Scots as he failed to break par with a 73 in the company of major winners Jordan Spieth and Matt Fitzpatrick.

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