Connor Syme jumps 100 spots on back of 61 in Gran Canaria

Connor Syme carded the lowest round of his European Tour career with a brilliant nine-under-par 61 but reckons he will need more of the same to be in with a chance of winning the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.

Connor Syme in action during the Gran Canaria Open at Meloneras Golf Club in Maspalomas. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

Syme’s sparkling effort in the second round at Meloneras Golf lifted him 100 spots to joint-23rd at the halfway stage, having opened with a 71 on Thursday in the first event on the European Tour’s new Canary Islands Swing.

He sits on eight-under-par alongside Scott Jamieson (68), with Richie Ramsay (65) and Calum Hill (66), on seven and six-under respectively, but they all have work on their hands over the weekend to keep pace with Thorbjorn Olesen.

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The Dane, who is awaiting trial on sexual assault charges and being drunk on an aeroplane, also signed for a 61 in his second circuit, having opened with a 65, to lead on 14-under, one ahead of Dutchman Wil Beseling and Rhys Enoch of Wales.

Syme, who shot a 62 at Gullane in the second round of the 2018 Scottish Open, beat that effort with a round that was illuminated by an eagle-3 at the 13th and also contained seven birdies, including two to finish.

“I set myself today a target of seven-under to make sure I was definitely here for the weekend, so I went a couple better than that and that’s good,” said the 25-year-old Fifer.

“To shoot an opening 71 after three weeks off was not the score I was hoping for, so it’s really nice to bounce back with a 61 and to be eight-under after two rounds is pretty solid golf.

“It’s obviously going to be a really low-scoring week and we expected that at the start of the event, with around 20-under likely to be the winning total.

“It means shooting a few good numbers, but it’s just nice to be back in the tournament given where I was lying in the field last night.”

Olesen, a five-time European Tour winner, is playing in his first event this season, having been ruled out of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after failing a Covid-19 test then picking up a wrist injury.

“I was definitely not expecting this,” said the 31-year-old after signing for an eagle and seven birdies.

Olesen, who became a dad earlier this month when his fiancee, Lauren Zafer, gave birth to a son, added: “I didn’t have that much practice coming in here, only last week, so the expectations were pretty low.

“It was great fun to be out here yesterday and today and shooting such a good number. The thought of 59 didn’t really come to mind, I didn’t even know what the par was, to be honest.”

Beseling carded a bogey-free 63 before being joined on 13-under late in the day by Enoch after he went one better. They are both chasing a maiden tour triumph.

Rafa Cabrera Bello, the local favourite and tournament hosts, picked up four shots in the last five holes to sit alongside Syme and Jamieson on eight-under.

On the Challenge Tour, Craig Howie sits joint-seventh at the halfway stage in the Limpopo Championship in South Africa after a second-round 67 that included a double-bogey 7.

The Peebles player is four shots behind the leader, home man Daniel Van Tonder.

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