Hero Open: Sam Horsfield beats Thomas Detry by one shot

Sam Horsfield

Sam Horsfield achieved something which has always eluded his mentor Ian Poulter by winning his maiden European Tour title in the Hero Open.


Leaderboard

-18 Horsfield

-17 Detry

-14 Paisley, Farr, Bjork

-13 Kieffer, Pavon, Korhonen, Hojgaard


Round four report

Sam Horsfield achieved something which has always eluded his mentor Ian Poulter by winning his maiden European Tour title in the Hero Open.

Poulter, who tipped Horsfield for success from the age of 13, has recorded victories on five continents during his illustrious career, but the Ryder Cup star has never won in his native England.

That prize was within Horsfield's grasp as he took a one-shot lead into the final round at the Forest of Arden and the 23-year-old held his nerve to card a closing 68 to finish 18 under par, a shot ahead of Belgium's Thomas Detry.

Detry - a 20/1 pre-tournament selection from Ben Coley - had recorded his ninth birdie of the day on the 17th to move into the lead for the first time, only to bogey the last after seeing his par putt from three feet catch the edge of the cup and stay out.

That left Horsfield needing to play the last two holes in one under par and he produced a stunning approach to the par-five 17th, a towering fairway wood from 233 yards over the water setting up a two-putt birdie from just over the green.

A cautious tee shot on the last left Horsfield around 50 feet from the hole, but he safely two-putted for par to complete a closing 68 and one-shot victory.

"It's special," said the Florida-based Horsfield, who won the European Tour qualifying school by eight shots in 2017.

"With everything that's going on in the world right now I'm thankful that the European Tour has been able to put on tournaments for us to play. I've been in Orlando for the last three months and I felt like my game was right there.

"I played decently last week (in the British Masters), had a pretty bad finish, but I kept the positives from that and played pretty solid all week.

"I was one back when I looked at the leaderboard on 16 and then hit one of the best five woods I've ever hit in my life on 17.

"Me and my caddie had a long discussion on the 17th tee because I wanted to leave myself a good five-wood number because it's probably my favourite club in the bag. I had 233 yards, into and out of the left, and executed it perfectly."

Horsfield is co-managed by Poulter's caddie Terry Mundy and spoke to the latter on Saturday night for advice on how to approach the final round.

"We talked about him and Ian being in situations where they've had one-shot leads or having been leading at a golf tournament," Horsfield added.

"He said 'go out there and play good golf, if you get beaten, you get beaten'. I had that mindset today. I thought I'm going to do my own thing, play good golf and if someone wants to catch me, then good for them."

Detry, who won the World Cup for Belgium in 2018 alongside Thomas Pieters, said: "A lot of things have been going through my mind, but honestly I have nothing to be disappointed about right now.

"I played some really good golf today, the greens are getting trickier down the stretch and I over-read that putt on 18.

"But I'm very pleased with the way I finished on those last few holes to be honest. I hit some very good shots out there. Another missed opportunity, but I'll move on and forget about it and just try to win next week."

England's Chris Paisley, Welshman Oliver Farr and Sweden's Alexander Bjork shared third place on 14 under par.

Round three report

Sam Horsfield saw a six-shot lead slip through his fingers and will take an advantage of only one shot into the final round of the Hero Open.

The Florida-based Englishman birdied the first three holes in round three and five of the first seven, racing clear at the top of the leaderboard and threatening to turn the event into a procession.

But Horsfield is yet to win a professional tour event, and after three putts from close range on the 10th he became ragged. Although he got that shot back at the 11th, a double-bogey at the straightforward 12th brought the field closer and they were on his heels after bogeys at holes 16 and 17.

Rounds of 66 from Rasmus Hojgaard and 67 from Oliver Farr and Mikko Korhonen saw them reach 13-under, and while that looked set to be a distant second for much of Saturday afternoon, instead it's a score just one worse than that of the leader.

Chris Paisley also shot 66 and he's the second-best English player in fifth, tied with Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, who had shared the lead with Horsfield only to slump to a third-round 73.

"I got off to a good start, 10 was just... I don't know what happened," said Horsfield. "I hit a bad drive on 12, my timing got a little off. But (I am) still in a good position for tomorrow.

"The double-bogey was just a bad drive. I didn't quite have it with my swing - the one on 17 was horrendous. I'm going to go to the range and try to work that out right now.

"My caddie just said to me if someone had said to you you'd have a one-shot lead heading into Sunday you'd take it."

Seven more players share seventh, three off the lead, and three more on 10-under make a top 16 in which any one of them could well be crowned champion on Sunday.

Round two report

For the second Friday in succession England’s Sam Horsfield surged into contention for a maiden European Tour title at the Hero Open.

Horsfield fired an eagle and seven birdies in a second round of 63 at the Forest of Arden to join Spain’s Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez in a share of the lead on 13 under par.

Horsfield finished 10th in last week’s British Masters following a 61 in the third round, which was unusually played on a Friday due to the tournament starting on Wednesday.

Garcia Rodriguez had earlier birdied the last two holes to add a 69 to his opening course-record 62 as the 31-year-old looks to mark his rookie season on the European Tour with a victory.

Ben Coley's 20/1 pre-tournament tip Thomas Detry is three shots back on 10 under.

Horsfield said: “Holing a wedge from 110 yards on four (for an eagle) was an obvious highlight and I just got on a bit of a roll and ended up with a nine under round.

“I’m just having fun, it’s nice to be playing tournament golf again, it’s been a while for everyone and I’m just thankful of that, to get some tournaments going. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while and I’m just enjoying it.

“It’s different out here, not the same as what we’re used to but it’s just the world that we’re living in at the moment and you’ve just got to make the most of.

“We have a great opportunity to come out here and play tournament golf and I’m thankful that the European Tour and everyone involved have been able to make that happen.”

Garcia Rodriguez, who secured his card from the Challenge Tour in 2019, said: “Today the wind was tough, it was a lot windier and the pin positions were a little more complicated than yesterday. But today I played very solid from the tee which was the key to only two bogeys.

“The key yesterday was the putter, today it was difficult with the irons to get it pin high because it was so windy, but I’m so happy with my round today.

“It was very important to birdie the last two holes. It was in my mind to hit a good drive on 17, it wasn’t perfect but a good line. I had an eagle in my mind with an eight iron in my hand, but it was a little right so it was a good birdie.

“On 18 I played a seven iron and it was a perfect putt. I need to do the same now, go to the players’ lounge, eat some food and hit the gym, then come out tomorrow for the same.”

The leading pair have a three-shot lead over Belgium’s Thomas Detry, with Alexander Bjork and Antoine Rozner a stroke further back.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who celebrated his record 707th European Tour appearance with an opening 64, added a second round of 72 to lie five shots off the pace.


Round one report

Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 64 on day one

Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrated his record 707th European Tour appearance in superb style with a flawless 64 in the first round of the Hero Open.

The 56-year-old, already the oldest winner on Tour, carded eight birdies at the Forest of Arden to share second place with compatriot Pablo Larrazabal, just two shots off the lead held by another Spaniard, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.

Jimenez, who made his first start at the 1983 Benson and Hedges Spanish Open, was applauded on to the 18th green by many of his fellow players and the likes of Jack Nicklaus, world number one Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy were among those to pay tribute during the television coverage.

“It’s been a wonderful day,” said Jimenez, who matched Sam Torrance’s previous record of 706 in last week’s British Masters.

“Eight under par with a beautiful summer day and especially now on the 18th here with all my colleagues clapping for me, it’s emotional. I appreciate that very much. Some of them are new players, some I’ve known for many years. It was really nice, very emotive.

“I enjoy everything about my life here. This is a way of living; it’s not only about business, it’s a way of living and golf is my life. You never remember any dull moments.”

In stark contrast to Jimenez, Garcia Rodriguez is enjoying his rookie season on the European Tour after gaining his card via the Challenge Tour and set a new course record with his opening 62.

The 31-year-old raced to the turn in 29 with five birdies and an eagle and although he bogeyed the 10th, he responded with birdies on the 13th and 14th and finished eagle-birdie after a dropped shot on the 16th.

“For me it’s incredible,” Garcia Rodriguez said. “I was so close to the hole the whole time, the irons were incredible and it’s amazing. It’s my dream all the time to be on the European Tour and it’s my first low score.”

Asked about Jimenez, Garcia Rodriguez added: “For me he’s the best, he’s the boss. I played with him two days ago in a practice round and he’s incredible. He’s 56 years old and he’s a great example for me.”

Larrazabal carded nine birdies in his 64 and rescued a bogey on the 14th despite losing a ball off the tee.

“To shoot 64 with a lost ball is probably the best round of my European Tour career,” he said. “I know I shot nine under somewhere but eight under with a lost ball, I’m quite happy.

“I took a lot of positives from last week. I hit a lot of great shots. The mistakes were a little bit wild, I made a lot of little mistakes but the birdies were there and it’s different greens this week, which I like.”

Welshman Oliver Farr is three shots off the pace after a seven-under-par 65, with England’s Ashley Chesters and Danish teenager Rasmus Hojgaard a stroke further back.

Scotland’s David Drysdale carded a one-over-par 73 on his 500th European Tour start.

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