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The Debrief: 2020 ISPS HANDA UK Championship

The Debrief: 2020 ISPS HANDA UK Championship

Everything you need to know from last week's tournament at The Belfry.

Rasmus Hojgaard

Rasmus Højgaard became only the third teenager to win twice on the European Tour and with it snatched the UK Swing Order of Merit.

Here we take a look at the highlights from a thrilling week at The Belfry.

More teenage kicks for Højgaard

The 19-year-old Dane earned his second European Tour win on just his 15th start after edging out Justin Walters in a play-off. On a dramatic final day at The Belfry, Højgaard came from five strokes back to finish level with Walters on 14 under par. When the contest went to extra holes, Højgaard held his nerve with consecutive pars down the 18th, with his South African opponent making a bogey on the second trip back down the last after shanking his approach from a bunker. Only Italy's Matteo Manassero had previously won twice before turning 20. “I was a bit surprised that I ended up in a play-off, but it was fun out there,” said Højgaard, whose victory saw him pip Sam Horsfield to the UK Swing Order of Merit. “It’s hard to describe. It’s obviously an amazing feeling to get the wins. It happened really quick. I’m kind of lost for words right now, but it’s an amazing feeling.”

#GolfForGood lives up its name

Højgaard's win saw him move to 738.1 points across the six-tournament UK Swing which heralded the return of the European Tour to top the Order of Merit. The Dane finished 21.9 points ahead of Sam Horsfield, who won two of the six events, and as a result got to distribute £60,000 of a £250,000 pool which was split between the top ten to the charities of his choice. As part of the European Tour's #GolfForGood initiative, £373,120 was raised at five venues which will be donated to 15 different charities. Along with the money distributed by the top ten on the Order of Merit, that means the UK Swing has raised total funds of £623,120, with six everyday heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic also recognised and over 10,000 Callaway balls donated to golf clubs and junior programmes. Højgaard, who split his £60,000 between Childhood Cancer Foundation - Denmark and Ronald McDonald House – Denmark, said: “I definitely want to help as much as I can. Of course I feel the money has to go to those two charities.”

Kaymer ready to contend again

When Martin Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open by eight shots, the notion of the German going more than six years without a title would have seemed extremely far-fetched. The 35-year-old almost returned to the winner's circle on Sunday, finishing a shot outside the play-off after bogeying the 17th and missing a birdie effort on the last. “I had a really good chance this week to win a golf tournament again,” said the former World Number One. “Unfortunately it was not to be. I was really battling all day, playing well, made some good putts coming in. Overall, really happy with my game. Looking forward to next week to see if we can create another chance. I needed to get some preparation in before the U.S. Open. When I saw The Belfry and Valderrama on the schedule it was a no-brainer, two great golf courses. If you can compete on those golf courses, especially what happened this week, it’s great to be in contention, it does help me in preparation for the U.S. Open.”

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Team Willett assembles

Danny Willett saw the chance to have wife Nicole on the bag this week as a win-win situation. It allowed him to give usual caddie Sam Haywood a week off and also allowed the Willetts to have some time alone together. “This week is one where I said, you know what, my wife and I haven’t had more than two hours alone in seven months – we’ve had the kids on our own (in America) since January – so I said we’ll use this to have a bit of time together on our own," he said before getting under way on Thursday. “She has never caddied for me before. We played golf together in the States and a couple of times back here. She’s a bit nervous, she doesn’t want to get anything wrong." Danny even took over bunker-rating duties – who said chivalry was dead?

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