Connor Syme qualifies for the Open

Connor Syme

Leading Scottish amateur Connor Syme booked a dream place at the Open in two weeks after coming through Final Qualifying at Gailes Links.

The Drumoig man, who turns 22 next week, completed 18 holes of the gruelling 36-hole test in level par to put himself in contention before turning on the style with a bogey-free 67 in the afternoon to finish tied at the top with Challenge Tour No.1 Julian Suri on four-under-par.

Some strong iron play was key to Syme's round as he gave himself countless birdie chances. If the putter was hot, 'he could've shot 62', remarked his caddie afterwards - and, eventually, that first birdie came on the eighth.

A fantastic up-and-down on the 12th from the left side of the green kept his card clean before patience finally paid off with a birdie at the 13th and eagle at the 14th. After that, he parred his way in and then waited for confirmation that he was in.

"It was so important to remain patient this afternoon - and my caddie really helped me with that," said a delighted Syme. "I felt really comfortable with what I was doing and knew I was going to hole one eventually, which I did.

"I've been going to the Open with my dad since 2004 so it'll be amazing to be inside the ropes this time - I'm absolutely buzzing."

Like Syme, Suri, 26, will also be teeing it up in an Open for the first time at Royal Birkdale and, for him, he says it's been a long time coming.

"It was a such a mental grind," said the American, who is the current world No.219 after a series of strong performances on the Challenge Tour, including a win at the D&D Real Czech Challenge.

"This is where I feel like my game belongs, at the highest level, so to finally put it together over 36 holes here is great. I can't wait to tee it up at the Open now. It's going to be awesome."

The final spot from Gailes Links went to Aussie Ryan McCarthy, who defeated Paul Shields, Martin Boel Ovesen and Mark Young in a play-off.

Elsewhere, the qualifiers at the other four Final Open Qualifying venues were:

Hillside

Haydn McCullen
Nicholas McCarthy
Adam Hodkinson

Woburn

Shiv Kapur
Toby Tree
Ian Poulter

Notts (Hollinwell)

Mark Foster
Joe Dean
Laurie Canter

Royal Cinque Ports

Matthew Southgate
Robert Dinwiddie
Austin Connelly

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