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Golf, it's a funny old game and, on Sunday, Thorbjorn Olesen proved that to be the case, with the Dane producing two monster putts of 30+ feet on the 17th and 18th to claim the British Masters (opens in new tab) by one shot.
Throughout all of Sunday, Olesen couldn't hit a golf shot for 16 holes, with the 32-year-old four-over-par for the day as he reached the par 5 17th. However, the Dane would draw on an identical finish of that on Saturday, as he holed a 30-foot putt for an eagle to get him into a share of the lead playing the difficult last.
Striping his drive down the last, his approach to the 18th finished pin-high but some near 40-feet from the hole. As he pulled the putter back though, his putt didn't look like it was going anywhere else but in! Rolling end-over-end, it found the centre of the cup for a one shot win and his first since the 2018 Italian Open.
A photo posted by on
To say the past few years have been difficult for Olesen is probably an understatement. Having been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman (opens in new tab), being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating of a second woman during a 2019 British Airways flight, Oleson had also seen his World Ranking drop to outside the top 500.
The Dane, though, has been working hard to get his game back into that of 2018, and multiple top-20 results showed he was progressing in the right direction.
Coming to The Belfry (opens in new tab), he led through three rounds, with an eagle-birdie finish on Saturday giving him a three-shot cushion over Hurly Long and Marcus Armitage. However, nerves were clear on the 1st tee as Olesen snap-hooked an iron left off the tee.
Following the snap-hook, he would go on to make a bogey and, following a birdie for Armitage, the lead was just one. Throughout the day though, many players seemed to have moments of brilliance and moments of questionable shots.
As Olesen struggled, it was Richie Ramsay and Sebastian Soderberg who made in-roads, with the duo both taking and vying for the outright lead. Over the back nine, it was Sweden's Soderberg who got the better, with four birdies on his back nine setting the clubhouse target of nine-under-par.
For Ramsay, who was a few groups back, a par at the last would mean he would overtake Soderberg. However, the Scot found the water with his second shot and, following a poor fourth, he couldn't convert his bogey attempt. This meant he dropped from one ahead to one back of the Swede.
It now left Olesen (opens in new tab) as the only one who could catch Soderberg and, following his two best shots of the day at the 17th, he had a chance to share the lead. Rolling in his 30-foot putt, the momentum was back on his side and the thought of a repeat of Saturday soon began flowing into people's heads.
The 32-year-old was now pumped and, following a pin-point drive on the 18th, his approach safely found the green. It was now up to Olesen to hole yet another lengthy putt. Taking his putter back, he just so happened to pull yet another near 40-foot putt out the bag, with his final shot of the day finding the centre of the cup for an extremely unlikely win!
"It's obviously been a pretty tough day," explained Olesen following his victory. "I was really struggling, there were a lot of shots lost to the left, but I somehow kept going and it was incredible.
"Standing on the 17th tee, I was thinking you can make birdie-birdie and maybe get into a playoff. When I got the chance on the 17th I thought I'd prefer to take it there, I mean, the 18th is a tough hole and four is a good score. So, yeah, I gave it everything and had a lot of belief in those last two putts."
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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