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Strong finish hands Syme a share of the early clubhouse lead at Valderrama

Strong finish hands Syme a share of the early clubhouse lead at Valderrama

Connor Syme finished his opening round with a flourish to share the early clubhouse lead on two under par with local favourite Jorge Campillo, American John Catlin and Italian Guido Migliozzi on day one of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters.


Along with Pep Angles, the quartet were the only morning starters to break par on Thursday as a combination of blustery conditions and firm greens made the already tough host course at Real Club Valderrama even harder.

It was a tale of two nines for in form Scot Syme, who turned in 37 after sandwiching the only birdie of his front nine between a double bogey and a bogey, before firing birdies at the 12th, 16th, 17th and 18th to sign for a 69.

The highlight of Syme's closing hat-trick was a chip-in birdie from just off the green on the 18th.

Spaniard Campillo had co-led for much of the morning after making three birdies and no bogeys on the front nine but when he dropped his first shot of the day at the 13th, he slipped off the top of the leaderboard.


The two time European Tour champion bounced straight back with a long putt for birdie on the 14th before narrowly missing his ambitious birdie try from 55 feet at the next.

After finding the water on the long 17th, Campillo narrowly missed his par putt to return to two under and he did well not to drop another at the last after getting into tree trouble but a solid two putt from range saw him take a share of the lead.

Migliozzi, meanwhile, got to three under after notching birdies at the third, eighth and tenth before making his first bogey at the par three 12th.

He recovered with a birdie at the next hole but carded a double bogey on the short 15th to fall back to one under.


The 23-year-old tapped in for a birdie from close range on the 17th to join Campillo and Syme on two under before closing his round with a par at the last.

Catlin made it to two under slightly later in the day after carding five birdies and three bogeys.

Syme, who recorded two top ten finishes in Wales last month, was pleased with his day's work.

He said: "I did play well on the back nine, I missed it in the good spots – as silly as it sounds, if you’re going to miss it in certain trees you’re better off being in the right ones, so you’re always taking that line where you’re always taking that second shot.

"I didn’t hit a great tee shot on 16, got a little bit fortunate but I missed it on the right side and hit a nice shot in and holed a nice putt, same on 17. "It’s just about managing your ball, that’s so important around here.

"I was happy with the back nine, to be honest I didn’t know how I was scoring, it’s one of those days where you’re just getting on and grinding and it’s nice to see a few drop at the end."

Like Syme, Campillo also came into this week with top ten finishes in his last two events and he is happy with how he is playing.

He said: "I played very good on the front nine and the back nine I kept it steady there, which was very good. Just a shame about the bogey on the 17th but overall it was a good round.

"I am normally a patient man, especially on this golf course. You have to be and par is a good score on this golf course so it’s easier for me to be patient on these kinds of courses.

"It’s quite different really. I live close to here so normally I have people coming to watch so it was a strange feeling today but it is what it is, at least we have one or two people and hopefully things can get better from here."

Migliozzi was thrilled to post a low round on a day when Valderrama showed its teeth.

"It’s been a great day of golf," he said. "It’s no joke around here, Valderrama on a windy day, so I’m happy about my game and happy about the result. 

"This is a paradise so I’m happy to be here and happy to play well."

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