Connor Syme aiming to sign off season on another high in DP World Tour Championship
Helped by a closing 67 on the Earth Course, the 28-year-old finished in a tie for 12th behind Jon Rahm in the season finale 12 months ago, picking up just over £100,000 to end up a career-best 28th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Syme starts out on Thursday sitting 45th in this season’s standings but, buoyed by a strong second half of the season, an Open spot on offer to the top 30 is in his sights once again.
“I don’t think it matters too much whether I finish 40th or 50th in the Race to Dubai,” said Syme, who is flying the Saltire on this occasion in the $10.5 million Rolex Series event along with Bob MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson.
“There’s obviously some great opportunities if I finish in the top 30, as I did last year. The goal is to play as well as I can and, having had a 12th place last year, that gives me confidence to hopefully do well again.”
The Drumoig-based player made it to the last tournament of the campaign on the back of four successive top-ten finishes in August and September.
“I’d made loads of cuts by July but found myself 95th or something in the Race to Dubai,” he recalled. “I kept telling myself that my goal was still to make it here and I genuinely believed that. Whenever I spoke to anybody, they’d be asking if I was thinking about just keeping my card.
“But, while that may have been the reality of the situation I was in, I wasn’t thinking about that and was just focusing on trying to make it here. It was great to have that run of form to be able to do that.”
Syme was out on the practice putting green at Jumeirah Golf Estates on 7.30am on Tuesday and was still there until 1pm. “I’d like to say I was that keen, but it wasn’t totally through choice,” he said, laughing, of the fact he was a reserve for the pro-am and had to be on site just in case of any late pull-outs.
“But it was good to get some work in. It’s good to get feelings back as the grass is way to different to last week (in South Africa), so it’s a case of making sure you do a lot of work on the putting green and short-game area to get a feel for it.”
As compatriots Calum Hill (54th) and Richie Ramsay (55th) came up just short in their late bids to break into the top 50, Syme breathed a sigh of relief as it was mission accomplished for him at the end of the Nedbank Challenge on Sunday.
“I found last week quite strange because you’ve always got an eye on the position you are in for the Race to Dubai. It’s like ‘is it enough or is it not?’ And you are always looking at other folk to see what is happening,” he said. “So it’s brilliant to be back and have another crack at playing in this tournament.”
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