Top-10 finish for Horne consolidates gains made this year

Keith Horne came sixth in the Trophee Hassan II at the weekend to pull off his second top-10 finish on the 2012 European Tour and vault to 40th spot on the Race to Dubai.

In the process, he consolidated the progress he made when winning his first ‘big’ Sunshine Tour title at February’s Telkom PGA Championship. Additionally, he has already matched his 2010 haul of top-10s on the European Tour and it’s only the end of March.

Horne managed eighth place in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after a poor start to the year in South Africa with 62nd and 60th place finishes in the Africa Open and the Joburg Open. And in 2010, he finished second behind Charl Schwartzel in the Joburg Open and took eighth in the Barclays Singapore Open behind Adam Scott.

His other top-10 finishes on the European Tour both came in South Africa: He finished in a share of fifth in the South African Open Championship in 2005 and he was tied sixth in the 2008 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

The Trophee Hassan II was a triumph for winner Michael Hoey, but it also saw a strong South African performance with seven of the eight Sunshine Tour players making the cut – only Richard Sterne playing on a medical exemption missed out.

In addition to Horne’s sixth spot, Hennie Otto and James Kingston finished in a share of ninth, Jaco van Zyl overcame a poor opening round to finish 25th with Branden Grace, Jbe’ Kruger closed with a 68 for a share of 33rd and Garth Mulroy was in contention at halfway but slipped to 64th at the close.

Horne’s performance lifted him to 173rd on the Official World Golf Rankings, up from his 187th last week and well up on his 362nd at the beginning of the year.

“I played okay this week,” said Horne. “There were shots that went a-begging, but I’m very happy. I think 12-under was the pretty good figure I was aiming for. I didn’t think I really had a chance of winning. I had a lot of opportunities, but so did the guys behind me.

“It’s been a solid week though. I’ve played well, but I made too many basic mistakes and they kept me from a really good score. I’m going home for two weeks and I’ll see my family before I have a four-week stretch from Malaysia down into Spain.

“The break will be great, and I’m looking forward to the four tournaments,” he added.

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