Horsfield goes for hat-trick of wins by avoiding ‘bad shot to the left’ at Celtic Manor

Sam Horsfield will attempt to claim a hat-trick of wins on the UK Swing of the European Tour in the 2020 ISPS Handa Wales Open
Sam Horsfield will attempt to create more history at Celtic Manor by completing a hat-trick of wins on the UK Swing of the European Tour. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

SAM Horsfield is aiming to make it a hat-trick of victories in the space of four UK Swing events at Celtic Manor.

The Florida-based Englishman tees it up in the ISPS Handa Wales Open on the same Twenty Ten course upon which he triumphed just four days ago.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Manchester, became the first player in European Tour history to go win-missed cut-win when he claimed the inaugural Celtic Classic title at the Newport resort, on Sunday.

The victory matched his performance two weeks earlier in the Hero Open at Forest of Arden Marriott Golf and Country Club, near Coventry.

Horsfield, who has lived in Florida since the age of five, said: “The celebrations were good. I didn’t feel great on Monday morning.

“Me, (Sean) Crocker and Haydn (Porteous) had a few drinks and celebrated properly. It hasn’t really hit me yet about the two wins.

“I think once I have a few weeks off and some time to think about everything and reflect, it’ll set in then.

“But I’m just trying to focus on this week. One of the first people to text me was Ian (Poulter). But I’ve had a bunch of support from everybody… fellow players.

“It’s always nice when people send you messages of congratulations,” said the University of Florida graduate.

2020 Celtic Classic winner Sam Horsfield
Sam Horsfield wants to win back to back at Celtic Manor in the ISPS Handa Wales Open after claiming the Celtic Classic last week at the 2010 Ryder Cup venue. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

Horsfield can create more history

HORSFIELD is hoping to ride his good form for another strong showing as the European Tour plays back-to-back on the same course for the first time this week.

Sam said: “I am confident. I feel like I’m playing good golf. I think they’re going to change the course around a little bit.

“I don’t know exactly what they’ll do to it. Hopefully, I get out there today and see what they’ve done,” he said on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m playing good golf and I just want to give myself an opportunity going into Sunday again.

“It’s going to be soft and it’s going to be playing long, and I think that helps me.

“I hit it pretty far off the tee and there isn’t so much on run-outs,” added Horsfield who ranks 12th on the Tour’s driving distance stats.

“It’s going to be plugging when it hits the fairway so I think it’s going to be a bomber’s golf course this week.

“I hit two left shots on 16 and 17 last week and I really do not like that shot.

“But it’s hard when you’ve won twice in two weeks to find any issues. You can always improve so I’m going to try eliminate that left shot slowly, but surely, and see where it gets me.”

Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course will host the 2020 ISPS Handa Wales Open a week after staging the Celtic Classic
The Twenty Ten Course will be used for a second European Tour event in a row

Sam set for trip to the land of Uncle Sam

HORSFIELD, a protégé of Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter, has already secured his place in next month’s US Open via the UK Swing’s mini-order of merit – which he currently leads.

The top 10 players in the rankings at the conclusion of this week’s event will qualify for the season’s second Major at Winged Foot, in New York, next month.

Meanwhile, Robert MacIntyre and Haotong Li are making their return to European Tour action for the first time since March.

Both played in the year’s first Major, the USPGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, and made the cut.

Li is feeling particularly confident having led the field after round two before finishing in a share of 17th position.

The Chinese star said: “I see a lot of this rainy weather playing on tour around the world. So I’m kind of used to it.

“It’s pretty nice here – a traditional UK style place. So I’m just glad to be here. The course is pretty good and I think it suits my game.

“You need to hit solid shots to shoot low scores here so it’s going to be a fun week. The game is good, especially coming from the PGA Championship.

“I got a lot of confidence over there, said Haotong, who fired a superb 64 in San Francisco in the second round to lead at the halfway mark.

He added: “I felt like I can compete with those guys when I was playing there. I really enjoyed it, it was a great experience.

“Before then I hadn’t played in quite a while. I’m finding a lot of confidence now and hopefully I can go low this week.

“I think if I bring my A-game I will get a good result. Actually the bubble has been pretty good, I was surprised.

“The hotel and food and everything has been a lot better than I thought.”

2019 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year winner Robert MacIntyre
Oban’s Robert MacIntyre, who won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award in 2019, tees it up for the first time at Celtic Manor. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

Rookie of the Year ready to resume on European Tour

LAST year’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year was one of the eligible British players who travelled to California.

Oxfordshire’s Eddie Frilford and Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood both chose not to travel to the States.

MacIntyre, whose last European Tour event was in Qatar, back in March, said: “It’s good to be back.

“Good to get back to competitive golf week-in, week-out. The European Tour have done a great job getting everyone back and playing again.

“I obviously watched this place on the TV for the Ryder Cup and hopefully I can get out today to finally see it – and if not I’ll just go out and enjoy it tomorrow,” said Robert, who makes his debut at Celtic Manor this week.

“Greg my caddie has been here and seen the course twice and says it’s as you see it. So as long as I’m hitting it well, which I am doing now, then why not have a good week?

“It was good at Harding Park, probably one of the toughest tests I’ve ever played on.

“If you missed the fairway by a yard-and-a-half, you were chipping it 60 yards down the fairway if you could.

“If you hit it wider you were alright. But I felt like I was just running off fairways from time to time and that’s what cost me.

“The game is in good shape though and I’m looking forward to this week,” said the Scot, who played in the 2017 Walker Cup against the USA in Los Angeles.

“I’m not too sure what I want from the rest of the season. I’m just going to play here and next week and then I have the US Open.

“We’re just trying to win every week we’re out here. Sam is making a good effort at that, so I’m just going to go out and enjoy my golf again and try be up there come Sunday.”

•Follow live scoring in the first round of the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor by clicking here.

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