In-form Connor Syme hit reset button after being 'hurt' by Open disappointment
The 28-year-old has recorded three successive top-ten finishes on the DP World Tour - fourth in Northern Ireland, third in Switzerland and seventh in Ireland - to hand himself a timely boost heading into the $9 million event at Wentworth.
“It’s been good,” said Syme of his purple patch, which has lifted him into 47th in the Race to Dubai, the top 50 in which after the Nedbank Challenge will qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November.
“The last three tournaments have been great. Yeah, it’s nice to produce some good form. It’s something I was hoping would come. I’ve definitely been more consistent this season, making more cuts and it’s nice to get some higher finishes to top that consistent play.
“I think missing the cut in The Open definitely hurt. I had a real think about what I needed to improve on during our three weeks off, so that came at the right time. It’s just nice to see that practice coming to fruition in the tournaments.
“I’m not all of a sudden a better player. It’s just maybe how I am handling setbacks in a round, which inevitably will come, and it’s just nice to put some results together.”
Syme secured his spot in The Open at Royal Liverpool through finishing in the top 30 on last season’s money list, giving him a lot more time to get prepared for the Claret Jug event than his two previous appearances in 2017 and 2019.
“The Open hurt more probably because I was so excited to play in that and, though not quite bursting the bubble, it was disappointing for it not to go well. But it came at the right time for me to reset things,” he added.
“Watching them, what makes the best players is how they react to bad shots. Watching Viktor Hovland win the Tour Championship, for instance, was brilliant to see. The good golf can be there but, at the same time, setbacks are inevitable and it’s how you react to them that counts. Can you make an up and down or do you let a bogey slip in and that’s what changes a round so much? I’m just trying to get better at that, really.”
The Drumoig-based player, who is coached by dad Stuart, has signed for sub-par scores in ten of his last 12 rounds, including a closing 67 in the company of last year’s US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.
“I was so excited to be in Crans as it was the first time I’d been there in years. (Girlfriend) Alanis was with me and it’s such a great week,” he said. “It was so busy and to play well in front of them was exciting, as was playing with Matt. I definitely took a lot from that.
“Even last week (in the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club), I can take so much from it. I was missing the cut with two holes to play and the 17th was a really tough tee shot with the water down the left. I took my driver down the water line and it’s funny as the hotel is up on the right side next to the tee and normally I’d have taken a 3-wood off that tee.
“But I had to go birdie-birdie to make the cut. If I’d got that tee shot wrong, I would have as well as walked straight to the hotel and checked out (laughing), but I smashed it over the water and made birdie then managed to eagle the last and, all of a sudden, the tournament changed for me.
"I wasn’t playing great at all but, on the back of having had such a great week the week before, I just tried to keep it going and was rewarded by finishing well. It ain’t going to happen all the time. That’s golf. Just because you prepare well and do everything right, it doesn’t mean you are going to have a good result. But, on this occasion, I did end up having a good tournament.”
Syme is flying the Saltire in Surrey this week with Ryder Cup team member Bob MacIntyre, as well as Richie Ramsay, Ewen Ferguson, Calum Hill, Craig Lee, David Law, Scott Jamieson, Grant Forrest and Marc Warren.
“Yeah, it is such an amazing place - it’s unreal,” said Syme of the host venue for the DP World Tour’s flagship event. “The course is amazing. I’ve watched this event over the years and it’s a cool thing to be a part of.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.