Horsfield wins battle to claim Soudal Open crown

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Sam Horsfield was fighting back the tears as he won a thrilling final-round battle with Ryan Fox to claim his third DP World Tour title at the Soudal Open.

The Englishman found himself three shots behind overnight leader Fox after eight holes on Sunday but showed his mettle on the back nine, clinching a two-shot victory with a winning score of 13 under par courtesy of a closing 68.

Horsfield’s third victory, following his wins at the Hero Open and Celtic Classic in 2020, comes just two weeks into his return from a three-month injury lay-off.

And the 25-year-old, who had his partner on the bag this week, was emotional as he completed a fourth round which contained four birdies and a single bogey.

Fox finished in a tie for second on 11 under par alongside German Yannik Paul, with Chase Hanna and Oliver Bekker another shot further back.

Sam Horsfield: “I was trying not to cry while I was over that little tap-in (at the 18th). Having Issi (Isabella Byron) on the bag, it’s been an amazing week. Mick (Seaborn, his regular caddie) is not here but I wish he was. I said yesterday I wanted to do it for him, and I was able to do it for him. I’m just so, so happy.

“I definitely thought about Mick quite a lot. Especially on the back nine, I pulled a few clubs that he definitely would have wanted me to hit.

“Issi has been amazing. I’ve been so happy on the golf course. It’s just like golf’s sort of got in the way this week, until a little bit there on the back nine. I asked her coming down 18 ‘are you nervous’ and she said yeah. But we’ve had an amazing week and I’m just so happy that she was here to enjoy this.

“This was a really special week for me, you know Issi my girlfriend was caddying for me, so it was a little different out there and we had a hell of a lot of fun. Unfortunately Mick my caddie couldn’t be here, you know I wish he was, and I was definitely thinking about him today. And this was for him.

“We just had fun all week, sort of like golf got in the way a little bit, you know we were having a blast out there chatting about everything that we could chat about and hit some golf shots in between.

“When I birdied 12 that was a huge bounce back birdie for me. My only bogey of the day was on 11 and to get a birdie right back and I think Ryan bogeyed the next hole, and I think we were all square from there. And then we had a huge put on 17 there and then just made par up 18.

“It is kind of funny, I feel like I have been playing really well but I haven’t been able to put four rounds together and this week I was able to do that, so knowing that it’s in there and that I can do it, it puts me in a good step forward for next week.

“This week I played solid all week and next week the US PGA, I’m really looking forward to it and definitely the summer ahead.”