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Irish Open 2015: Champion Soren gets by with a little help from his friends

By Peter Hutcheon

Having a mate from Belfast gave Soren Kjeldsen the extra edge when he really needed it to win the Irish Open.

The newly crowned said being invited over to play Royal County Down and Royal Portrush had been really important when it came to playing this week.

"You can have your yardage books and all the information, but nothing beats actually playing a place to really get to know it," he said.

"That week I was over we played here and Royal Portrush and went to Bushmills and had a really good time. And I've had a really good time here this week and I can't wait to come back again."

On his way to victory the Dane said he hadn't wanted to look at leaderboards, but had to break that rule after he had double-bogeyed the eighth.

"I really don't like to look but I felt I had to know where I was in the tournament and when I saw one on 11 I couldn't believe that I was still right in it," he said. "Even after eight holes I didn't feel that I was playing badly but I knew the score wasn't too good so I knew the same was going to be happening to other players."

Kjeldsen's win gain him entry to the Open at St Andrews in July which he said would take a while to sink in.

"Playing in the big events like those are why we play this game and why we get up to practice and work hard," he said. "I have played all the majors and the world golf championships, but I haven't been in them for a while.

"And you can't help but think at the age of 40 'Will I ever get to Augusta again? Will I ever play another Open?'. So that's a great bonus."

Kjeldsen is the third Dane to have won the Irish Open following on from Soren Hanson Thomas Bjorn and he says that the similar weather conditions in Denmark give them an edge when conditions get as tough as they were at Royal Country Down where he was one of only five players to end the week under par.

"This weather is what I was brought up in," he said.

"I love it when it's windy and I love playing in the wind.

"I am able to shape shots against the wind and keep it low and rely on my short game which is what I tried to do today.

"I did try to get a little too cute with my chips on a couple of the holes today - on eight where it rolled back down to my feet and on the last when I hit it over the green.

"But I hit a great chip and made a good up and down after that and then took advantage of it in the play-off.

"That was a great three wood I hit in the play-off and I could hear from the applause that it was up there on the green.

"I just tried to two-putt from there and that wasn't easy, but it went in.

"This course does suit me and my style of play. I can't wait to come back again.

"The crowds have been great all week and it was brilliant to finish in front of such huge crowds at the end out there."

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