Strong start from Connor Syme at Qualifying School final

Connor Syme opened with a five-under-par 67 at Lumine Golf in Tarragona, Spain, to sit inside the top 20
Connor Syme opened with a five-under-par 67 at Lumine Golf in Tarragona, Spain, to sit inside the top 20
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Connor Syme started strongly in his bid to pass the European Tour Qualifying School final-stage test for the second year running in Spain.

The 23-year-old opened with a bogey-free five-under-par 66 on the Lakes Course at Lumine Golf in Tarragona to sit inside the top 20 after the first of six rounds in the battle for 25 cards.

Craig Ross is similarly placed after he carded a five-under 67 on the neighbouring Hills Course in a marathon event involving 11 Scots among 157 card contenders.

Syme, who finished joint-ninth behind Englishman Sam Horsfield at the same venue 12 months ago, got off to the start he wanted after picking up a birdie at the tenth, his opening hole.

The Drumoig man, who fell 10 spots short of retaining his card after finishing 126th in this season’s Race to Dubai, then made further gains at the 18th, second, third and seventh in a polished effort.

Ross, who has already come through two stages to set up his card chance, signed for seven birdies, including four in six holes from the third.

The Kirkhill player also produced a burst on the back nine, picking up three shots in five holes from the 11th as he, too, enjoyed a good day at the office.

Three-time European Tour winner Marc Warren opened with a three-under 68 on the Lakes Course, as did James Ross of Royal Burgess, leaving the pair in joint-56th.

Ewen Ferguson, with a one-under-71, was the only other player among the Scots to break par, with Duncan Stewart and Daniel Young next best on level-par.

Jack McDonald is on one-over, one ahead of Scott Henry, while Chris Robb and Calum Hill had to settle for three-over in their opening salvos.

England’s Daniel Gavins and Max Scmitt of Germany were the star performers on the Lakes Course with nine-under 62s, one better than Norwegian amateur Kristoffer Reitan.

Best score on the Hills Course was 65, with that seven-under effort being carded Englishman Chris Hanson, German Bernd Ritthammer and Australian Deyen Lawson.

Former Scottish Open champion Gregory Harvet is handily-placed after a four-under 67 on the Lakes layout while Italy’s Matteo Manassero, the youngest-ever winner of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, opened with a two-under 70 on the Hills Course.