Date: January 17, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Men’s final: Syme holds 3-shot halfway edge

Scotland’s Connor Syme will take a 3-up lead into this afternoon’s second round of the Australian Amateur Championship final at Melbourne’s Metropolitan Golf Club.

Syme, of Fyfe, played almost flawless golf in near perfect conditions to shoot an unofficial 69 in the first 18 holes, good enough for an early buffer over Sydney’s Travis Smyth.

The Scot, 20, jumped out to a 2-hole lead through six holes courtesy of some incredible iron shots on approach to some tightly tucked pins.

Only some great par-savers from the testing 2m range by Smyth kept the New South Wales state team representative in the contest until his own superb approach to the eighth swung the momentum.

Smyth nailed his birdie en route to winning the 8th, 9th and 11th holes to seize the lead momentarily.

But a great up-and-down for par on the 13th from Syme gave him a spark that squared the match and set him alight again.

Syme won the 15th with a par before a superb curling birdie putt on 16 gave him a 2-up edge before a bogey for Smyth on 17 cost him another hole.

Smyth, far from disappointing, made a couple of driving errors that cost him bogeys late in his first round, but still carded an unofficial even-par 72.

The St Michael’s member was as brilliant as his Scottish opponent through 12 holes, but the visitor steadied when challenged and won a lot of fans with both his demeanour and ball-striking ability.