As Sam Horsfield walked off the 18th green Saturday at Forest of Arden Country Club, his caddie, Mick Seaborn, offered some perspective.
Yes, the 23-year-old Englishman had turned in a disastrous 4-over 40 coming in that all but negated the six-shot advantage he had built earlier in the round, but Horsfield was also still leading with 18 holes to play at the Hero Open.
“If someone would have said to you on Thursday you can have a one-shot lead going into Sunday, you would take it,” Seaborn said to Horsfield, who at 14 under is just ahead of Rasmus Hojgaard, Oliver Farr and Mikko Korhonen entering Sunday’s final round in Birmingham, England.
A day after carding 63, Horsfield continued his torrid pace, birdieing five of his first seven holes to move from a share of the 36-hole lead to 18 under, six shots clear of the field. However, he three-putted for bogey at the par-4 10th and went 3 over on the two back-nine par 5s, losing his tee ball at No. 12 and finding the water with his approach at No. 17.
After a closing par, Horsfield settled for a 1-under 71.
Full-field scores from the Hero Open
“I've made it a little bit harder for myself from the position I was in,” Horsfield said, “but I'm still looking forward to tomorrow; it'll be a lot of fun.”
Horsfield, who moved to Florida at age 4 and starred for two seasons at the University of Florida, is still searching for his first European Tour title since turning pro in 2017. The prodigy, highly touted since beating Ian Poulter in a nine-hole match as a 14-year-old, has four top-5 finishes on the tour and last week fired a third-round 61 at the British Masters before finishing in 73 and tying for 10th.
Hojgaard, who at 19 is a promising player in his own right after recording his first Euro Tour title earlier this season, put together a third-round 66 Saturday to move into a share of second, a week after finishing runner-up to winner Renato Paratore.