Connor Syme: 'Right time' to turn professional for Scottish golfer
Scotland's Connor Syme says significant experiences in golf over the summer have led him to turn professional earlier than initially planned.
The 22-year-old takes the step up from amateur status at the European Tour's Portugal Masters on Thursday.
"I always had a plan that it was going to be the end of 2018," Syme told BBC Scotland.
"But playing the Open Championship and a few other pro events this year, I felt now was the right time."
Syme, who plays out of the Drumoig Golf Club in Fife, secured a spot at Royal Birkdale in July after successfully negotiating his way through a qualifying event at Gailes Links.
He missed the weekend cut by four strokes, but the experience, combined with input from family and fellow players, convinced him to make the decision to turn pro.
"When I played with Alastair Forsyth a few years ago in South Africa, he told me to always have a plan of when you'll turn professional but be adaptable and when you're ready you'll know," explained Syme.
"That resonated at the Open this year. My dad and family were all there as well as my management team and we decided we would have a plan in place for turning pro after the Walker Cup."
Syme will be looked after by Modest Golf, a company that has former One Direction singer Niall Horan as one of its agents.
"Niall's very involved and I've met with him a couple of times," said Syme, who is coached by his father, Stuart.
"He's very into his golf and very passionate about it. His involvement makes it an exciting company to be a part of and I couldn't have been happier with how things have gone."
In terms of events Syme hopes to play at over the coming months, he is confident of being invited to several Challenge Tour tournaments and possibly even some more European Tour events.
Gaining a European Tour card at qualifying school would be an unexpected bonus this early in his professional career.
"I'll certainly be preparing myself for tour school," said Syme.
"I got through the first stage through my world amateur ranking to get to second stage, so it's nice to have a better chance of getting the European Tour card, but that's a long way away.
"I'm just taking it week by week and obviously the Portugal Masters is a brilliant way to get going in my pro golf."
Syme talks of his great respect for the likes of Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay, Stephen Gallacher, Scott Jamieson, David Drysdale and Marc Warren - all Scottish golfers who have been regulars on the European Tour over recent years.
Aberdonian Ramsay is the last Scot to have won an event, in Morocco in 2015.
"To maintain a tour card is no mean feat and I think the guys are doing well at that," said Syme.
"Certainly, us younger guys can look up to them and be inspired by what they have achieved.
"I know it's been a while since there has been a European Tour winner from Scotland, but guys like Bradley Neil are doing excellently on the Challenge Tour and is hopefully on his way to securing a European Tour card.
"Grant Forrest is coming through as well, so hopefully we can push on, but I don't think Scottish golf is as bad as people might think."