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The Debrief: 2020 Hero Open

The Debrief: 2020 Hero Open

Everything you need to know from the first Hero Open in England since 2002 as Sam Horsfield claimed his maiden European Tour title.

Sam Horsfield

Horsfield holds on for Hero Open success

Horsfield held his nerve to overcome Belgian Thomas Detry and secure his first European Tour crown on his 65th appearance but not without an almighty scare.

The Englishman entered round four at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club with a one shot lead and sat at the summit almost all day until Detry passed him with a birdie on the 17th.

That was the first time Horsfield - who held a six shot lead at the turn on Saturday - had not been in pole position all weekend but a Detry bogey on the last put him back in a share of top spot.

A birdie on the par five 17th then put the 23-year-old back in the solo lead and he held his nerve up the last to sign for a 68, an 18 under par total and a maiden victory.

Horsfield appeared on the golfing radar at the age of just 13 when he recorded a 59 at his home course in Florida, a score he matched when playing with friends in Orlando during the coronavirus hiatus.

Horsfield has been tipped as a star of the future by his mentor, Ryder Cup star and 12 time European Tour winner Ian Poulter when he was a junior and the champion revealed some words from Poulter's caddie Terry Mundy on Saturday evening helped him prevail in Birmingham.

"I called Terry (Mundy), we talked about him and Ian being in situations where they’ve had one shot leads or having been leading at a golf tournament," Horsfield said.

"He said ‘go out there and play good golf, if you get beat, you get beat’.

"I had that mindset today. I thought I’m going to do my own thing, play good golf and if someone wants to catch me, then good for them.

"It’s special. 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."

No Regrets for Detry

Detry's wait for his maiden European Tour title continues after a bogey at the last cost him his chance to get in the winner's circle.

The Belgian's birdie at the par five 17th, coupled with Horfield's dropped shot at the 15th, saw Detry leading as he headed down the last.

However, a closing bogey left the door ajar for Horsfield and it was the 23-year-old Englishman who claimed his first European Tour title with a birdie on the 17th.

Detry remained philosophical despite the late lapse 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. I’m feeling very positive about the rest of the UK Swing now."

Thomas Detry

All aboard! Sjöholm enjoys bouyant bogey

Everyone has heard of a golf buggy but Joel Sjöholm needed a boat on the final day of the 2020 Hero Open.

The Swede was playing the 17th at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club when he sent a shot heading for the water but got a lucky break when his ball found land on an island.

The question now is - how do I play that shot?

Well if you're Sjöholm, you hop in a boat with no paddle, pull yourself across to the island, move some signs, play your shot, get back in the boat, pull yourself back across and only drop a single shot.

It was one of the more remarkable things you'll see all season on the Race to Dubai and we'll let the man himself tell you all about it.

“My second shot happened to go out and hit some trees and the board so it actually stopped on the island," he said. "We asked if there was a boat and there was a boat, so I did my best, however I made a bogey which I probably would have if I took a drop anyhow. The lie was not that bad. I think it was the most fun I’ve had all week, actually.

“I always tend to find ways out of my problems. I’m a problem solver more than I’m the greatest ball striker on earth. I tend to find my way out of things and I thought I’d find my way out of this as well. I sort of did. I definitely could have left it in the water or the penalty area, but we got it out and I made six.

“I think I was much more afraid of falling into the water than of me messing up when I got to the island. I saw that some guys were playing quite good around me so I hopefully I didn’t mess something up for them because I took some time down 17. I’m sorry for that but I did what I had to do.”

Jiménez breaks European Tour appearance record

Miguel Ángel Jiménez made history on Thursday as he overtook Sam Torrance's previous appearance record of 706 events on the European Tour, which he set in 2010.

Torrance was one of the first players to congratulate him through a video call, just moments after Miguel was greeted by fellow players on the 18th hole at the Forest of Arden, before receiving a glass of red wine and a salver.

"I didn’t know those guys were going to come out. I felt the emotion as soon as I saw them," Jiménez said.

"I appreciate that very much. Some of them are new players, some I’ve known for many years. It was really nice, very emotive."

The Spaniard carded an eight under par 64 during the first round to spark thoughts of a potential fairytale week in Birmingham before finishing for a tie for 34th.

French flair

Matthieu Pavon and Antoine Rozner showcased a chipping and putting masterclass at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, which included this terrific hole out eagle on Saturday from the former...

...And he wasn't done there. Nine holes later he did this.

Rozner began his third round in style as he holed out this monster birdie putt from the fringe of the green...

... but Sunday saw him eclipse his fellow Frenchman with the irons as he carded successive gains to back to back chip ins. Impressive stuff.

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