Connor Syme did not take long to make his mark on the European Challenge Tour as he chalked up a season-opening victory at the Turkish Airlines Challenge to race into an early lead on 2019 Road to Mallorca Rankings.
The Scot was immediately the man to catch and he did not relinquish his spot inside the all-important top 15 for the remainder of the year, securing his second season on European golf’s top tier with five additional top ten finishes.
His victory at Samsun Golf Club was the dream start for the 24-year-old, who was looking to bounce back after losing his European Tour playing privileges at the end of his rookie 2018 season. The 2017 Walker Cup star’s sparkling performance in Turkey was the dream beginning as he carded rounds of 65-67-66-67 to record the joint-lowest winning score of 2019.
His impressive 23 under par total for the 72-hole event did not quite secure victory, as extra holes were required for Syme to see off the challenge of eventual Road to Mallorca Rankings winner Francesco Laporta, as a sublime seven iron approach to five feet and a converted birdie putt proved enough to seal his maiden Challenge Tour victory.
The 2017 Qualifying School graduate showed great resolve during his Challenge Tour campaign, whose five top tens included bowing out at the quarter final stage of the Andalucía - Costa del Sol Match Play 9, after finishing 126th on the 2018 Race to Dubai.
Syme undoubtedly has the game to contend at the top level and he did demonstrate that ability in his opening European Tour season, with his best result a runner-up finish at the Shot Clock Masters.
With a year’s experience on the Challenge Tour now under his belt, Syme will be looking to tread the same path as compatriot and Class of 2018 member Robert MacIntyre, who enjoyed a remarkable debut European Tour season in 2019 after clinching both the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year and Graduate of the Year accolades, courtesy of an 11th place finish on the Race to Dubai.
Syme, who had a glittering amateur career, has already showcased that renewed confidence in the first two events of the season, with a tie for 11th place at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and a top ten finish at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open forming the start of the Scot’s return to the European Tour.