Sam Horsfield makes strong return at Kenya Open

English man cards 65 to finish opening round a shot behind leader Benjamin Hebert

USA’s Sihwan plays his second shot on the 18th hole during day one of the Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi. Photograph:  Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

USA’s Sihwan plays his second shot on the 18th hole during day one of the Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

England’s Sam Horsfield was pleased with his return from injury after he finished the opening round of the Magical Kenya Open a shot behind leader Benjamin Hebert.

Horsfield (24) enjoyed a breakthrough season with two victories on the European Tour in 2020 but then suffered a back injury towards the end of the campaign.

There were no signs of rust as a six-under 65 at Karen Country Club put Horsfield in a seven-way tie for second in Nairobi.

“I tore a disc in my back in Cyprus at the end of last year,” he said. “Then I was just getting treatment and stuff like that and I didn’t feel like I was ready for the Middle East [swing].

“It’s nice to be back out here with the boys competing.”

France’s Hebert, looking for a first European Tour win in his 218th event, took sole possession of the lead when he birdied the 18th late in the day to sign for a 64.

‘Fantastic day’

“It was a fantastic day,” said Hebert. “I played very solid all day long. It’s been a long time since it has been like this.

“I played well all day, so I’m very happy.”

Hebert’s compatriot Raphael Jacquelin was among those tied for second on six under, alongside Horsfield, Poland’s Adrian Meronk, German Bernd Ritthammer, Finland’s Kalle Samooja and Scottish pair Calum Hill and Connor Syme.

Northern Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin lies six shots off the lead on one under with Jonathan Caldwell two further back. Gavin Moynihan faces a battle to make the cut on six over.

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