Connor Syme ties for third as in-form Sam Horsfield wins again

Englishman claims second win in three starts with Celtic Classic success

Overnight leader Connor Syme, who signed off with a level-par 71, was overtaken by in-form Englishman Sam Horsfield in the Celtic Classic in  Wales. Picture: Getty.
Overnight leader Connor Syme, who signed off with a level-par 71, was overtaken by in-form Englishman Sam Horsfield in the Celtic Classic in Wales. Picture: Getty.

Overnight leader Connor Syme had to settle for a share of third as Englishman Sam Horsfield chalked up his second European Tour win in three starts with victory in the Celtic Classic in Wales.

Syme, who was bidding for his maiden victory on the circuit, started the final day with a one-shot lead after carding a scintillating eight-under-par 63 in the third round at Celtic Manor.

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The 25-year-old Fifer was unlucky to see his approach at the opening hole topple off the back edge, leading to a bogey, and was quickly overtaken by Horsfield as he birded the third and fourth.

Following a two-hour delay due to a thunderstorm, Syme birdied the ninth and 11th to get back within a shot of his playing partner only to see his title hopes dashed by a bogey at the par-4 15th, which came after Horsfield had birdied the previous hole.

The young Scot signed off with a level-par 71 for a 15-under-par 269 total, recording his fourth top-ten finish of the season after securing a return to the top tour at the first attempt on the Challenge Tour after narrowly losing his card at the end of the 2018 campaign.

“Disappointed not to win,” admitted Syme, “but a good week. I just didn’t quite have my best stuff today. I drove it well, gave myself some chances but didn’t take the opportunities.”

Horsfield, who won the Hero Open at Forest of Arden, completed a quickfire double by signing off with a 67, finishing two shots ahead of Belgian Thomas Dietry (67). Syme finished alongside another Belgian Thomas Pieters (67), as well as Englishman Andrew Johnston (68).

An emotional Horsfield had struggled to speak after his maiden win but told Sky Sports: “This time I can speak. It was pretty crazy. My goal this weekend was to have no bogeys and I was able to do that, made a huge putt on 17 to keep that alive.”

The 23-year-old carded four birdies in his closing effort and added: “I just played solid all week.”

Calum Hill (69) and Marc Warren (74) finished in a tie for 39th on seven under, seven shots ahead of Grant Forrest (72).

As the event was ending, 2018 Ryder Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjorn arrived at Celtic Manor as he completed his four-day charity walk from Wentworth.

“As a Dane who has lived most of my adult life in the UK, I wanted to give something back both globally and locally and I feel that UNICEF’s Save Generation Covid appeal and the Golf Foundation are a perfect fit for that,” said Bjorn of the 
130-mile trek.

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