Ever since Ian Poulter played with Sam Horsfield as a 14-year-old in Florida, he has assured everyone that his countryman is a Tour winner in waiting. And on Sunday at the Forest of Arden, the 23-year-old who was born in Manchester but raised in America has the chance to fulfil his mentor’s prophecy.
On 14-under, Horsfield goes into the final round of the Hero Open one clear of Wales’s Oliver Farr, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard and although he should be clear of the chasing pack, this still represents a huge opportunity for the player ranked 224th in the world.
“If someone would have said to you on Thursday you can have a one-shot lead going into Sunday, you would have taken it,” Mick Seaborn told Horsfield as he walked off the 18th green. The caddie had seen his man continuing the monstrous form of Friday’s 63 by birdieing five of the first seven holes to move six ahead.
But then, Horsfield three-putted the 10th and when he lost his tee-shot on the 12th he was in retreat. He located the water on the 17th and was plainly in need of caddie’s wise words by the end of a 71.
“Mick was right,” he said. “I have made a little bit harder for myself from the position I was in but I’m still looking forward to tomorrow and it’ll be a lot of fun.
“I got off to a good start and then 10, I don’t know what happened there, then I hit a bad drive down 12 and my timing got a little off, I got a little quick and it got stuck behind me. I felt it on a few shots, but I’m still in a good position for tomorrow.
“The double-bogey was just a bad drive and I tried to hit a lot of greens and I just didn’t quite have it on the back nine with my swing. I hit a lot of poor long iron shots on 15 and 17, the one on 17 was horrendous. So I’m going to go to the range and work that out right now.”
Farr is also searching for a first European Tour win at nine years Horsfield’s senior, and he is counting on his three victories on the Challenge Tour holding him in good stead after a bogey-free 67. “It’s a nice position to be in going into a Sunday,” he said.
“I try and treat it as another tournament. I played a lot on the Challenge Tour and have been in contention out there. It’s a bit of a step up being on the European Tour but I’ll try and treat it as another tournament and a position I’ve been in before.”