Joburg Open: Connor Syme ready to perform in wet conditions on European Tour

Connor Syme is considering turning professional in 2018
Connor Syme is considering turning professional in 2018

Amateur Connor Syme is welcoming the challenge brought by a week of unusual torrential rain ahead of the Joburg Open on Thursday.

The 22-year-old is making a rare appearance in the European Tour event at a soaked Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

"Obviously, being from Scotland, I don't mind," Syme told BBC Scotland.

"It's just a case of getting the waterproof jacket and wet weather glove on and getting going."

Syme is based in Drumoig in Fife and was invited to play in the tournament because of his win at the Australian Amateur Championship, Scottish Golf's links with the South African Golf Association helping as well.

"I've played this course before so I kind of know my way about," said Syme, a member of Drumoig Golf Club.

Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club
A view of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club

"It's different kind of wet out here as it's still quite warm. It makes the golf course play quite long so it's a premium on accuracy off the tee this week.

"It's a new experience for me to be playing in an event like this but my game-plan is going to be the same as normal - one shot at a time and see where it takes me by Friday afternoon."

Syme is coached by his dad, Stuart, who is not out in South Africa with him but keeps in regular contact.

"I'm on the phone to my mum and dad every couple of days to catch up on things and they're always keen to know how I'm doing," said Syme, who is considering turning professional in 2018.

"We keep in touch about my game or my swing. It's good to have that relationship with him.

"Generally, when we're setting up for a lesson the dad stuff goes out of the window and we're working as a coach to player. Obviously, we've got the dad side of things to help me out as well so it's a good mix."

Where is it?

The Joburg Open is played at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in South Africa and staff have tweeted that their "course maintenance team are hard at work on the courses after 140mm of rainfall since Monday".

The par-72 East Course plays over 7,658 yards.

Home favourite Haydn Porteous won the Joburg Open in 2016
Home favourite Haydn Porteous won the Joburg Open in 2016

Who won it last year?

Johannesburg's Haydn Porteous won his maiden European Tour title at this event in 2016 on 18 under par, two clear of countryman Zander Lombard.

That win earned Porteous a place at the Open at Royal Troon, where he finished joint 30th.

Any Scots in action this year?

Yes. Six of them, including Syme.

East Kilbride's Marc Warren led after a brilliant first round of 63 recently at Malaysia's Maybank Championship and finished tied 20th.

Grantown-on-Spey's Duncan Stewart made the last 24 of the World Super 6 in Australia last week and feels he is making progress after changing clubs and coach.

Cockburnspath's David Drysdale, Glasgow's Scott Jamieson and Clydebank's Scott Henry are also in the 210-strong field.

Marc Warren carded a superb 63 in Malaysia
Warren carded a superb 63 in Malaysia

Big names on the card?

There are not a whole host of big stars playing at the Joburg Open but 2016 Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is there.

Masters winner of 2008 - South Africa's Trevor Immelman - plays in his home country and 2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang is also playing.

What's up for grabs?

The prize fund for the Joburg Open amounts to almost £1.1m.

And another thing...

Watch out for Scotland's Russell Knox in action at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic this week, as the Inverness-born player moves his preparation for the Masters up a gear.

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