thomas detry

Thomas Detry is challenging. Image: DP World Tour

Detry vying for Soudal Open win

Simon Forsström remained in charge of the 2023 Soudal Open after holding off the challenge of home favourite Thomas Detry in round three.

thomas detry

Thomas Detry is challenging. Image: DP World Tour

Simon Forsström remained in charge of the 2023 Soudal Open after holding off the challenge of home favourite Thomas Detry in round three.

Swede Forsström fired a flawless, four-under-par 67 to reach 15 under and sit one ahead of Belgian Detry, who shot a 66.

It was tight at the top throughout the day with Jens Dantorp sharing the lead for much of it. He is in a tie for third with Julien Brun on 12 under while Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Richie Ramsay and Andrew Wilson are one shot further back.

Detry in the mix

Detry had been two behind at the start of the day and a poor tee-shot to the second threatened to derail him but he saved par from 20 feet after dipping a sockless foot into the hazard to play his second.

ALSO READ: Explained: Louis Oosthuizen may never play the Masters again

That settled any nerves and he got going after taking advantage of the par-five fifth for his first birdie of the day before making it two in a row when he rolled in a tricky downhill putt from 11 feet at the sixth.

He gave himself a good look for another gain at the seventh but the putt slipped by and Detry remained in a five-strong group at 11 under par.

ALSO READ: Major golf in 2023: When are they and who can play?

Up ahead, Dantorp, who had birdied the first and the fifth, was the first to hit 12 under, smashing his tee-shot at the short par-four eighth in close and sinking the putt for eagle.

Detry soon joined him when he played the eighth, taking two putts from the back of the green for birdie.

Forsström, the overnight leader, joined the party when he reached the eighth and walked off with his first birdie of the day.

Detry missed birdie putts at the 10th and 11th and his patience was tested even more when the hooter sounded due to a threat of lightning when he was on the 12th, where an even shorter birdie attempt stayed out.

WATCH: Tree falls but fans avoid disaster

The players were off the course for more than 90 minutes and it was Forsström who got his nose back in front after the restart, rolling in a birdie at the 13th.

But Detry replied straight away, spinning his approach to the 14th to four feet and making no mistake with the putter.

Dantorp made it a three-way tie again when he reached 13 under with a birdie at the 16th but Detry’s drive to the same hole landed just short of the green and he took two with the putter to hit 14 under.

Forsström refused to go away though and walked off 16 with a birdie of his own and they were two ahead when Dantorp scrapped his way to a bogey at the 17th after a poor drive.

Detry’s tee shot at the penultimate hole, off to the left, put him in trouble too but he kept his card clean with a classy up-and-down.

He was playing catch-up once more though when Forsström holed a birdie putt from just off the front of the 17th.

Challengers not giving up

Forsström said: “I’m very pleased with my performance. After the rain I started making some birdies, so maybe the rain was good.

“I looked a little at the leaderboard, but you always hear when Tom makes a birdie. I had pretty good knowledge of the leaderboard.

“I feel like it’s going to be fun. I’m going to try and do my best and see where it ends. I’m very proud, it took a long time for me to get here. Finally I’m here and I hope I can win.”

Detry is looking forward to another battle. He said: “It’s absolutely amazing. It feels like I’m bringing Tiger crowds out here. The course has an amazing atmosphere between the trees as well. Every single clap sounds like it’s times three.

“There’s really a great atmosphere, it’s lovely to see some familiar faces again. It’s just so much fun and hopefully the sunshine stays for tomorrow.

“I don’t know what would mean the most, winning for the first time or winning on home soil. I think that they would both mean a lot. I think it would be a massive boost for my career and a massive boost for my confidence as well. It would be pretty special but, again, I’m not really thinking about that. I’m just going to try and enjoy the day and just have some fun.”

Neil Schietekat
Neil Schietekat won the FBC Zimbabwe Open by four strokes at Royal Harare Golf Club on Sunday. Image: Sunshine Tour website