John Murphy collects a cheque for $17,800 – his first DP World Tour payday – after closing with a level-par 71 in the Soudal Open at Antwerp’s Rinkven International Golf Club, while Simon Forsström collected a maiden tour victory.
Rounds of 69 and 71 were enough to see the Kinsale man make his first weekend appearance since graduating from DP World Tour Q School last November, and buoyed by the boost in confidence, he’d fire a blistering 65 to shoot up the leaderboard in round three.
Birdies on one and two were just what the doctor ordered in round four, as Murphy played the opening holes flawlessly with a five-inch tap in on the first and an 18-incher on the second. A scrappy pitch from the greenside rough on the third cost him a stroke, and he’d bogey the par-5 fifth as well after finding the trees with his second and the bunker with his third. He’d pull a stroke back on the seventh, but he’d fail to build on it despite having good birdie looks at eight and nine and he’d head for the back nine at -1 for the day.
Bogeys at 10 and 13 dropped him back the wrong side of par, but he’d take care of the par-5 17th to get back to level for the day, and that’s where he’d stay, closing out a confidence building week with a tied 28th finish on -8.
At the top of the leaderboard, home favourite Thomas Detry bogeyed three of the opening nine holes to meekly slip out of contention and it would be the Scandanavian trio of Swede’s Forsström and Jens Dantorp and Denmark’s Thorbjørn Oleson who would battle it out down the stretch.
Forsström entered the final round with a one stroke lead over Detry, with Dantorp a further two adrift. Oleson was six behind, and his closing 66 was the best of the leading contenders but would eventually fall two shots shy.
Dantorp, also chasing his first DP World Tour win would take the solo lead on the back nine with a birdie on 13 as Forsström stuttered with a double-bogey on 10 and a bogey on 12.
The 34-year-old showed incredible resolve to put the difficult stretch behind him and he’d birdie three of the four-holes from the 14th through the 17th whereas Dantorp would birdie just the 17th and Forsström took a one-stroke lead to the 18th tee.
With Dantorp in the fairway and Forsström in the right-hand rough, a playoff looked a distinct possibility, but Forsström showed nerves of steel from 148 yards and knocked it to four feet. When Dantorp could only make par, he’d have the pleasure of two-putts for the win and took no chances as he rolled it up and tapped in to claim the victory and the $340,000 first prize.
“I’m very happy and I don’t have any words,” the emotional victor said. “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, this wasn’t one time.”
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