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Simon Forsström claims fairy-tale win in Belgium

Simon Forsström claims fairy-tale win in Belgium

Simon Forsström recovered from a back-nine wobble with a series of late birdies as he held off the charge of fellow Swede Jens Dantorp to claim his first DP World Tour title at the 2023 Soudal Open.

Forsström began the day with a slender one-shot lead before extending his advantage to three shots at the turn with birdies on the fourth and eighth.

But things began to unravel on the back nine as the 34-year-old followed up a double bogey at the tenth with a bogey on the 12th to surrender the lead.

He bounced back brilliantly, though, holing birdie putts at the 14th, 16th and 17th to take a one-shot lead down the last.

And despite missing the fairway, he comfortably parred the 18th to sign for a closing 69, finish the tournament on 17 under par and clinch a one-shot victory.

The Swede secured his DP World Tour card with a two-stroke victory at the Final Stage of Qualifying School in November, and has been impressive ever since, recording three top-ten finishes over the first five months of the campaign before ending his long wait for victory at Rinkven International Golf Club.

Dantorp finished alone in second on 16 under following his closing 67, which featured five birdies and one bogey.

Dane Thorbjørn Olesen was two shots further back in third after posting a flawless 66 on Sunday.

After opening his fourth round with three successive pars, Forsström banished any early nerves with a 40-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the fourth.

He then produced a great par save on the fifth before picking up his second birdie of the day from close range at the eighth to open up a three-shot lead.

But Forsström found trouble off the tenth tee as he sent his ball into a bush, carding a disappointing double bogey to see his lead trimmed to one.

Things then went from bad to worse as he missed the green at the short 12th and failed to get up and down.

That bogey meant Forsström was no longer alone at the top of the leaderboard and he found himself behind shortly afterwards as Dantorp birdied the 13th.

But Forsström dug deep, holing his eight-foot birdie putt on the 14th to regain a share of the lead before making back-to-back gains on the 16th and 17th to lead on his own again.

Forsström gave himself another good birdie chance at the 18th as he sent his second shot from the rough to around five feet, but he could not convert his birdie effort and had to settle for a one-shot victory.

After his stunning win, Forsström said: "I'm very happy and I don't have any words. I'm just glad I made it, since I was in the lead.

"I think the course suits me very well, it's pretty tight and short.

"I won on the Challenge Tour in Belgium, so I think Belgium is good!

"It's pretty similar to Sweden, the trees and the grass, so I think I feel very at home here.

"I hope I can keep proving myself and that this wasn’t one time."

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