Horsfield triumphant in Belgium as Kearney falls away on final day

Adam McKendry
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Sam Horsfield after winning the Soudal Open (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Niall Kearney’s hopes of a maiden DP World Tour victory fell apart in Belgium as a two-over-par 73 in his final round dropped him well off the pace and outside the top-10 at the Soudal Open.

The Royal Dublin man had headed into day four three shots off the lead, but he would only manage one birdie which came at the 17th after three bogeys earlier in his round to slip back to six-under for the tournament.

Kearney would finish the week at Rinkven International in a share of 15th, seven shots adrift of eventual winner Sam Horsfield, a disappointment given the position he had put himself in after the second and third rounds in particular.

While the bogeys came on the back-nine, at the 10th, 11th and 15th, the damage was done on a front-nine which consisted of nine straight pars and only had outside looks at birdie at best as he slowly slid down the leaderboard.

The 34-year-old will have to regroup now after this setback, which only lifts him 19 places in the Race to Dubai to 157th, ahead of a week off on the DP World Tour for the PGA Championship.

Horsfield, meanwhile, will head to Southern Hills on a high after securing a two-shot win at 13-under-par after closing out his week in Antwerp with a three-under 68.

He took advantage of overnight leader Ryan Fox only managing a level-par 71 in his final round to steal in for the victory with four birdies and one bogey, with Fox and Germany’s Yannik Paul sharing second at 11-under.

It is Horsfield’s first win since the 2020 Cazoo Open and comes in just his second event back since a three-month lay-off due to injury, and is set to lift him to a career-best world ranking of 65th heading to Oklahoma.

“I was trying not to cry while I was over that little tap-in (at the 18th). Having Issi (Isabella Byron) on the bag, it’s been an amazing week. Mick (Seaborn, his regular caddie) is not here but I wish he was. I said yesterday I wanted to do it for him, and I was able to do it for him. I’m just so, so happy,” said the Englishman

“I definitely thought about Mick quite a lot. Especially on the back nine, I pulled a few clubs that he definitely would have wanted me to hit.

“We just had fun all week, sort of like golf got in the way a little bit, you know we were having a blast out there chatting about everything that we could chat about and hit some golf shots in between.

“When I birdied 12 that was a huge bounce back birdie for me. My only bogey of the day was on 11 and to get a birdie right back and I think Ryan bogeyed the next hole, and I think we were all square from there. And then we had a huge put on 17 there and then just made par up 18.

“It is kind of funny, I feel like I have been playing really well but I haven’t been able to put four rounds together and this week I was able to do that, so knowing that it’s in there and that I can do it, it puts me in a good step forward for next week.

“This week I played solid all week and next week the US PGA, I’m really looking forward to it and definitely the summer ahead.”

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