It just wasn’t to be for Connor Syme in the European Tour’s double-header at Celtic Manor as he came up short for the second week running in his bid for a maiden win on the circuit.
But, on the back of two top-ten finishes in the Celtic Classic and Wales Open, the 25-year-old has secured his US Open debut next month, when he will join Bob MacIntyre and Sandy Scott in flying the Saltire.
Ten spots were up for grabs through a mini-order of merit on the UK Swing and it was mission accomplished for Syme, though the final day of the Wales Open didn’t work out the way he had hoped.
“That will be special,” admitted the Fifer, who has already made two appearances in the Open. “That was certainly a goal for these UK Swing events, to try to qualify. So obviously I’m delighted to have achieved that.”
As victory at the Newport venue went to Frenchman Romain Langasque, Syme’s superb run over two weeks ended on a disappointing note as he signed off with a double-bogey 7 on the Ryder Cup course.
He had started out in a share of the lead and was still right in the thick of things with six holes to play before two bogeys in three holes then that sore last one took the shine off another great effort.
“Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed,” he said after a closing 75 left him having to settle for a share of eighth spot on three under. “It was a really poor final five or six holes for me, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“It’s obviously sore. The goal was to try not to think about that and just try to win the golf tournament. But, unfortunately, I just didn’t quite have it today and a few wrong decisions unfortunately and I just didn’t quite have it. But that’s golf and there’ll be a next time.”
Langasque, who beat Grant Forrest to win the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie in 2015, claimed his maiden title in style with a bogey-free six-under 65 to win by two shots from Finland’s Sami Valimaki (69).
“I played really, really good,” said Langasque, who had started the day five shots behind both Syme and Swede Sebastian Soderberg. “I had so many birdie opportunities. The second shot on 16 and the first shot on 17 were my two best shots of the week. That shows that the work we have done the past few weeks has worked, and I’m pretty happy.”
Langasque and Syme were joined in sealing US Open spots by Valimaki, Sam Horsfield, Thomas Detry, Andy Sullivan, Rasmus Hojgaard, Renato Paratore, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding.
Langasque added: “The first shot I felt pressure was the wedge on 18 because I was looking to be shorter and have a longer shot, but I flushed my 4-iron. The wedge wasn’t easy because I wasn’t close and the two putts were under pressure. Before that I was cool and feeling really well on the course.
Calum Hill closed with a 69 to finish alongside Syme, one shot ahead of Liam Johnston (68). Craig Howie (71) ended up just outside the top 20 on one under, followed by David Law (37th), Richie Ramsay (44th) and Bob MacIntyre and Daniel Young (both 59th).
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