Horsey wins by a neck in Morocco

4/3/2011 5:39:45 PM
David Horsey  (Getty Images)
David Horsey (Getty Images)

A birdie at the second extra hole saw David Horsey overcome Rhys Davies and Jaco Van Zyl in a three-man play-off to win the Trophée Hassan II in Agadir.

After a final round full of tension, incredible drama at the final hole sent the trio to extra holes in Morocco.

Defending champion Davies and England’s Horsey – who had a hole in one at the second – exchanged blows all day at the top of the leaderboard.

With one to play, Horsey was one ahead of the Welshman and two clear of Van Zyl, but took five from the middle of the fairway and six in total.

His double bogey left Davies a four footer for the win, but inexplicably one of The European Tour’s finest putters ran it two feet past.

Having gone into the bunker when they replayed the 18th, Horsey had to make a fine eight foot clutch putt to stay in it after Davies missed a third putt to win - this time from 20 feet.

Horsey pushed his approach right again on his third trip down the last, but rather than find the bunker he caught the bank on the edge of the green and rolled to three feet - and this time he made no mistake.

“I played well all week and did a lot of things well but I just couldn’t get the ball in the ball in the hole at the end,” admitted the 25 year old.

“I don’t really know what to say about that to be honest. It is just one of those things that happen in golf.

“It’s tough and the line is so fine that it comes down to things like that sometimes. It is going to be a hard one for me to take but I will pick myself up and be back at – I know I am playing well and doing the right things, this one just got away from me.”

That allowed South African Van Zyl into a play-off with his par four as the South African carded a four under 68 to join his playing partners – both of whom signed for rounds of 69 – on 13 under.

All three players parred the first extra hole, but Horsey held his nerve at the second to seal a second European Tour title.

“Relieved more than anything,” said 25 year old Horsey. “I made hard work of that coming down the last.

“I couldn’t believe Rhys missed that putt to win to be honest. If we had been playing match play I would have given him that putt because he is one of the best putters in the world.

“So I was surprised to be in the play-off and then to win is a great feeling that hasn’t quite sunk in yet but I am sure it will in the next day or two.

“It is not very often that you get off to a start like that on the last day of a tournament – especially when you are in a position to win. Obviously there is a certain amount of luck involved in a hole in one but it really set me up for the rest of the day.”

A hole in one helped the BMW International Open winner complete an outward 32 to claim a two shot lead at the turn.

Horsey, who headed into the final round as joint leader along with Davies, made the perfect start with an ace at the 180 yard second and, despite following that up with bogeys on the third and fifth, he regained his composure with putts and eight and six feet on the seventh and eighth.

Davies was three shots adrift at that stage, but drew level with four consecutive birdies at the start of the back nine – a marvelous tee shot to within five feet at the 12th the highlight.

Horsey struck what looked a decisive blow at the penultimate hole when his second shot from the fairway at the par five finished within 12 feet, and Davies came up short of the green.

Horsey needed two putts, but Davies could not get up and down to match his birdie, and when Horsey found the centre of the fairway with his drive at the last it should have been game over.

But he missed the green with his approach, duffed his first chip, and then two putted from five feet for a six that looked certain to deny him the title.

Davies had putts of 15 and four feet for the win, but could not take advantage and Van Zyl, who kept himself in the hunt with a back nine 32, snuck into the play-off.

“I expect to win every week,” continued Horsey. “Every time I come out on Tour I come to win.

“It doesn’t always work out that way but you have to expect and believe you can win on any given week. I probably wasn’t swinging the club as well as I could but I played well last week and knew that I had a good chance this week.”

Of his near-costly miss at the last he added: “It went back to the second shot that I didn’t execute and that led me to have a bad lie with my third and that was tough shot because the green was sloping away from me and it could have rolled off the green.

“The putt, I think I just have to put that down to nerves. It is very difficult to win any golf tournament at any level and you do get nervous but I managed to regroup and finish the job off.”

Denmark's Thomas Björn earlier signed for a course-record 62 to finish six under for the week.

“I played well – even with a bogey and a three putt,” said the former Ryder Cup star. “It was just one of those days when I holed my fair share of putts and never made any big mistakes, hit 17 greens in regulation.”