Sam Horsfield Secures Maiden European Tour Victory
Sam Horsfield overcame Thomas Detry in a thrilling final round to win his first European Tour title at the 2020 Hero Open at the Forest of Arden.
The Englishman began the day with a one-shot lead and sat on top of the leaderboard until Detry passed him with a birdie on the 17th.
It was the first time Horsfield - who held a six-shot lead at the turn on Saturday - had not led all weekend but a Detry bogey on the last put him back in a share of top spot.
However, Horsfield was not to be denied. A birdie on the par five 17th put the 23-year-old back in front and he held his nerve up the last to sign for a 68, an 18 under par total and a maiden victory in his 65th European Tour appearance.
"It’s special," he said. "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 played solid all week and gave myself a lot of opportunities.
"I knew that any slip up - I bogeyed 15, hit a horrendous chip and I put myself under the gun. Me and my caddie on the 17th tee, we said ‘you’re tied, go do this thing. You’ve been playing good all day, been playing good all week, just hit a bunch of good shots coming in’. I probably hit one of the best shots I’ve hit in my life on 17 and it paid off."
Detry signed for a 66 to finish a single shot behind, three ahead of Swede Alexander Björk, Welshman Oliver Farr and England's Chris Paisley.
Detry insisted he had no regrets after a short missed putt on the final green cost him a place in a play-off. The Belgian has won the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf alongside Thomas Pieters and claimed a solo victory at the 2016 Bridgestone Challenge on the European Challenge Tour by a record breaking 12 shots but has yet to lift a trophy on the European Tour.
On Sunday, he trailed Horsfield by three shots as the long time leader made the turn but birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th had him breathing down the Englishman's neck.
Another birdie on the 17th coupled with a Horsfield bogey on the 15th meant that Detry held the lead for the first time as he stood on the 18th tee.
But a closing bogey left the door ajar for Horsfield and it was the 23-year-old who claimed his first European Tour title with a birdie on the 17th.
Despite that disappointment, Detry insisted that he was pleased with his week's work in Birmingham, and will now have an eye on U.S. Open qualification after moving up to fourth on the UK Swing mini Order of Merit.
“A lot of things have been going through my mind but honestly I have nothing to be disappointed about right now," he said. "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.
“It was tough out there, the wind started to swirl a little bit and 16 and 17 are tough holes with a lot of water around. You have to be careful because you can quickly make a high number but I handled it pretty well, like I said, I’ll just move on.
“I’m feeling very positive about the rest of the UK Swing now, I’ve picked up a few points for the UK Swing Rankings so it will change a few things. I might not play every single tournament now but we’ll see how things go but I’m definitely playing next week so I’m looking forward to that.”
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