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Saturday, 03 March 2018
Good start was important - Horsfield

Sam Horsfield will take inspiration from his Qualifying School victory as he goes in search of a first European Tour title at the Tshwane Open.

The Englishman came through all three stages at Q-School to win the Final Stage by a commanding eight shots after firing a closing 63 in Tarragona in November.

He has made just two cuts since then but one of them led to a semi-final appearance at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth and a round of 64 at Pretoria Country Club - his best ever as a professional - means he heads into Sunday just two shots behind leader George Coetzee.

The 21 year old opened with four birdies and after adding further gains on the ninth, 11th and 12th, he was delighted to be right in the mix in a stroke play event for the first time on the European Tour.

"I think everyone just wants to get themselves into contention and I’ve done that so tomorrow’s going to be a fun day," he said.

I had a good week at Q-School so when I get into contention I can look back on something like that - Sam Horsfield

"I had a good week at Q-School so when I get into contention I can look back on something like that.

"It was important to get off to a good start, the back nine is definitely tougher with fewer birdie opportunities.

"I made a good birdie on 11 and then birdied 12 and then just sort of just hung on coming down the stretch.

"When I was seven under through 12 I actually just tried to stay in my zone. I was playing with Matt Baldwin and I know him pretty well. We played together at Q-School and we just had fun out there."

Mikko Korhonen was also at 12 under after he fought back from a slow start to card a 69.

A runner-up here last season, the Finn bogeyed the fourth and 11th but took advantage of the par five 12th, holed a long putt on the 14th, put his tee-shot on the 16th to tap-in range and made another long putt on the next.

"I’m really happy with my round," he said. "I struggled in the beginning, big-time. I wasn’t really confident, I wasn’t really there, but it started going better on the back nine. 

"I just had to regroup, just play my game as I have been doing the last couple of days. I just had to trust that it would come.

"I think I have to be a little aggressive tomorrow. I probably have to shoot somewhere around 67 or 66 range, at least.

"I nearly holed my tee shot on 16. It was a nice seven iron. The wind just turned there and I saw George hitting an eight so I took a seven because I’m a little shorter than him."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-18
2HORSFIELD, SamENG18-16
3KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-15
T4VAN TONDER, DanielRSA18-14
T4AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-14
T4GROS, SébastienFRA18-14

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