There are many reasons to be thankful for the European Tour putting on their six-week UK swing but the chance to watch Sam Horsfield progress from being an exciting prospect to an obvious superstar in the making is surely right at the top.
The 23-year-old Englishman made it two wins in three weeks at the inaugural Celtic Classic to underline why it won’t be long before he’s doing exactly the same thing in far bigger tournaments.
Is there anything he can’t do? He looked like he’d win the tournament at a canter until a two-hour lightning delay rudely interrupted him in glorious full flow. After eight holes he’d gone from one behind the leader Connor Syme at the start of play to three strokes in front.
When he came back out, the momentum had gone, as the plucky Syme applied plenty of pressure, but no matter. Horsfield won it by playing smart and digging one out of the dirt instead, claiming the title by two strokes in near darkness following a bogey-free final round 67.
Horsfield, who plays with refreshing swiftness, can expect a congratulatory phone call from his mentor Ian Poulter this morning, just as he did after winning the Hero Open a fortnight ago.
It was at the Celtic Manor venue where Poults added a chapter to his Ryder Cup legend in 2010 and now it’s proven similarly memorable for Horsfield on his way to greatness.
Every player has a weakness but in his case it’s not easy to spot one. He hits the ball miles, strikes his irons well, has a lovely short game and putts like a man who expects to win.
That much was obvious on the par three 17th, where there was a real chance his three-stroke lead would be whittled away to a slender stroke playing the last. But he rolled in his 20ft putt for par, while Syme missed his birdie putt from half that length.
‘It feels crazy to win two tournaments so close together,’ said Horsfield. ‘A couple of weeks ago I couldn’t speak I was so excited after my first tour win but I can really enjoy this one.’
Just like two weeks ago, the man who finished runner-up was the luckless Belgian Thomas Detry, still seeking his maiden Tour success. The 27-year-old only dropped two shots all week and could be forgiven for thinking the sooner Horsfield scampers off to the PGA Tour, the better.
Tied third place, alongside Englishman Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Belgian Thomas Pieters, went to the Scot Syme, who acquitted himself well given this was rarified territory for him and the dazzling array of weaponry at his playing partner’s disposal.
Meanwhile, at the Renaissance Club near North Berwick, former world No 1 Stacy Lewis became the first American to win the ASI Ladies Scottish Open since 1986 after birdieing the first hole of a play-off involving three other players.
It was an emotional first win in three years for the 35-year-old, the first since she became a mother to daughter Chesnee.
By contrast, It was a forgettable week for the home contingent ahead of the women’s Open at Royal Troon this week, with no British players finishing inside the top 10.