Connor Syme shot an eight under par round of 64 to secure a two shot victory as the action in the BMW International powered by TrackMan moved to Royal Portrush.
The Scot finished top of a leaderboard featuring 28 European Tour players in the second of five events in the new series of virtual golf tournaments using the latest simulator technology.
Following his victory at the Northern Irish venue, which hosted the 148th Open Championship in 2019, Syme claimed the first prize of €10,000 towards a charity of his choice. The 24 year old opted to split the cheque between two charities that will benefit from the donation during the COVID-19 pandemic – FoodTrain, which supplies meals to the elderly in Dundee, Scotland, and Hospice of the Valleys, a charity close to his heart which provides palliative care.
Syme and the rest of the field, including the winner of last week’s inaugural BMW International powered by TrackMan, Joost Luiten, and former World Number One Martin Kaymer, competed virtually over the historic links layout from their own homes in the one round, 18 hole stroke play event.
Tournament footage was shown on the European Tour’s social media channels and https://bmw.
Syme got off to a flying start, birdieing the first two holes and picking up two more shots on the sixth and seventh before his first bogey of the day on the eighth hole. His round really picked up pace after the turn in an impressive five hole stretch with an eagle on the 12th bookended by two birdies either side.
Despite a second bogey on the 15th hole, it was enough to secure a two-shot win over Dutchman Will Besseling and England’s Lawrie Canter, following their six under par rounds of 66.
“Seeing the scores from last week I wasn’t really sure how I would fare, but it was great to get a good score around Royal Portrush,” said Syme.
“I played solid on the front nine and then I just went crazy for a few holes ten through 14 – that was a cool run to go on. It was my first time competing in something like this on Trackman, so I really had no idea what a good score would be, but I was very happy with the numbers.
“I’ve actually been following a program with Spencer Henderson, the Scotland under 18 national coach. He’s been keeping us busy on Trackman, so I probably owe a lot of this win to him. I don’t know how sharp I would have been otherwise.”
Syme was also pleased to be able to make a difference to two causes that are close to him for different reasons, with each of the five tournament winners in the BMW Indoor Invitational powered by TrackMan receiving $10,000 towards good causes of their choice.
“Having an opportunity to make a difference with what is going on in the world is great. I’m honoured to have won and have the opportunity to hopefully change a few peoples lives.
“Half of my donation will be made to Food Train in memory of Sean Hearn, who I read about this week. He was a really valued member of the community in Dundee, a proud charity worker and a community football coach and referee who gave up his time for others in the town where I live. Food Train is the charity he worked with and it distributes food and gives support to elderly people in the city. Stories like Sean’s and so many others are reminders of the people who are constantly putting themselves out there and how many incredible people we have lost during this crisis.
“The remaining $5,000 will go to Hospice of the Valleys. A bit further away from home, but very much close to our hearts. My girlfriend’s grandfather unfortunately passed away a couple of days ago after a two year battle with bowel cancer. Hospice of the Valleys have been with him every step of the way and $5,000 would mean a lot to them as it could offer more than a month of service towards someone like my girlfriend’s grandad. An incredible cause.”
Spain’s Adri Arnaus finished in fourth place at Royal Portrush behind Syme, Besseling and Canter with a four under par round of 68. Last week’s winner Luiten – playing in the interactive feature group with Englishman Paul Waring – was then one shot further back alongside Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan.
Two-time major winner Kaymer finished in a tie for 13th place after an even par round of 72.
Footage of the BMW Indoor Invitational powered by TrackMan is now available on the European Tour’s social media channels (Twitter: @europeantour; Instagram: @europeantour; YouTube: EuropeanTour) and via https://bmw.
BMW Indoor Invitational powered by TrackMan venues and dates:
Saturday May 9 – Old Course, St Andrews (Winner, Joost Luiten)
Saturday May 16 – Royal Portrush (Winner, Connor Syme)
Saturday May 23 – Golfclub München Eichenried
Saturday May 30 – Real Club Valderrama
Saturday June 6 – Wentworth