Amateur Connor Syme reflected on an ‘amazing’ opening round as he targets making the cut at Royal Birkdale.
The Drumoig man, 22, went out in a very comfortable level par 34 but his back nine was very much a mixed bag with double-bogeys at the 11th and 16th holes, bogeys at the 13th and 15th holes and a birdie on the 12th.
He did, however, finish his round in style with back-to-back birdies for a three-over-par total which has him in buoyant mood going into the second round.
“It was an amazing experience today,” said Syme, who is currently second among the five amateurs in the field – two behind Alfie Plant. “I definitely felt the nerves on the first tee but this is what you practice for. It was class. I hit a good shot and made a good par and that settled me down a lot.
“My goal now is to obviously make the cut and it was a good birdie-birdie finish there to give me a chance tomorrow.
“I felt good going onto the green at 18 and felt like I needed to make it to lift the spirits going into tomorrow. It was so cool to see that one go in in front of the grandstand.”
The Scottish charge is being led by the duo of Martin Laird (above) and Richie Ramsay, who sit just outside the top ten on two-under-par – three behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka.
Laird was delighted to respond after a disappointing showing at last week’s Scottish Open, where he missed the cut by some seven strokes.
“I really worked hard on my game after not playing very well last week and it showed today, he said. “I bogeyed the first and bogeyed the last but everything else in between was really good and it was as good as I’ve hit the ball in a while.
“Generally, the harder the courses are, the better I play. I feel like I’m pretty good at working my way around the golf course. Mid-irons are my strength and I feel like I’m hitting them into almost every hole – so I feel comfortable here.”
After last week’s Scottish Open, Ramsay said he needed to ‘press the reset button’ after a disappointing final day, which came just a week after he surged to his biggest European Tour payday at the Irish Open.
He responded with a fine 68 and, afterwards, said a blow-out in the gym was what helped him regain his focus.
“A good gym session got the aggression that I felt out of me,” he said. “That helped a lot. I’ve come here this week to try and enjoy it and do my best to push up the Race to Dubai and get more world ranking points. If I do well this week, there are a few more doors that can potentially open and I’ve got to look forward rather than look behind me.”
As for the other four Scots in the field, 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie opened with a level par 70, David Drysdale posted a two-over-par 72, Scottish No.1 Russell Knox went round in four-over-par while Sandy Lyle was seven-over-par.