Conor Syme has recorded his 'maiden European Tour victory' after winning the second in a series of virtual golf tournaments on the circuit, which is currently in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 24-year-old's triumph in the BMW International powered by TrackMan was recorded at Royal Portrush on a simulator.
Syme shot an eight-under-par 64 at the venue for last year's Open Championship, winning by two shots, to claim a first prize of €10,000 towards a charity of his choice.
The former Australian Amateur champion beat 27 fellow European Tour players, including former world No 1 Martin Kaymer and Dutchman Joost Luiten, winner of the inaugural event, as they competed virtually over the Antrim links from their own homes.
“Seeing the scores from last week I wasn’t really sure how I would fare, but it was great to get a good score around Royal Portrush,” said Syme.
He birdied the first two holes, picked up two more shots on the sixth and seventh before his first bogey of the day on the eighth hole.
His round really picked up pace after the turn in an impressive five hole stretch with an eagle on the 12th bookended by two birdies either side.
“I played solid on the front nine and then I just went crazy for a few holes ten through 14 – that was a cool run to go on," added Syme.
"It was my first time competing in something like this on Trackman, so I really had no idea what a good score would be, but I was very happy with the numbers.
“I’ve actually been following a program with Spencer Henderson, the Scotland under-18 national coach.
"He’s been keeping us busy on Trackman, so I probably owe a lot of this win to him. I don’t know how sharp I would have been otherwise.”
Syme, who lives in Fife, opted to split the cheque between two charities that will benefit from the donation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first is FoodTrain, which supplies meals to the elderly in Dundee, while the other is Hospice of the Valleys, a charity close to his heart which provides palliative care.
“Having an opportunity to make a difference with what is going on in the world is great," he said. I’m honoured to have won and have the opportunity to hopefully change a few peoples lives.
“Half of my donation will be made to Food Train in memory of Sean Hearn, who I read about this week. He was a really valued member of the community in Dundee, a proud charity worker and a community football coach and referee who gave up his time for others in the town where I live.
"Food Train is the charity he worked with and it distributes food and gives support to elderly people in the city.
"Stories like Sean’s and so many others are reminders of the people who are constantly putting themselves out there and how many incredible people we have lost during this crisis.
“The remaining $5,000 will go to Hospice of the Valleys. A bit further away from home, but very much close to our hearts.
"My girlfriend’s grandfather unfortunately passed away a couple of days ago after a two year battle with bowel cancer.
"Hospice of the Valleys have been with him every step of the way and $5,000 would mean a lot to them as it could offer more than a month of service towards someone like my girlfriend’s grandad. An incredible cause.”
Footage of the BMW Indoor Invitational powered by TrackMan is now available on the European Tour’s social media channels (Twitter: @europeantour; Instagram: @europeantour; YouTube: EuropeanTour) and via https://bmw.trackmaninvitational.com.
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