Monday 19 March 2018

Majors the next step for Olesen after scare in Turkey

Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark putts on the 18th green during the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images
Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark putts on the 18th green during the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Thoroughbred Thorbjorn Olesen survived a final-round charge by David Horsey to win the $7m (€6.3m) Turkish Airlines Open and insisted his goal now is to contend for Majors and a Ryder Cup place.

The Dane saw his seven-stroke overnight lead shrink to just one shot when Horsey galloped to the turn in five-under 29 at the Regnum Carya Hotel & Spa Resort. But despite carding a six-under 65, the Englishman had to settle for a share of second with China's Li Haotong (65) as Olesen made three birdies in four holes from the 12th and carded a 69 to win by three strokes on 20-under par.

The 26-year-old pocketed a career-high cheque for €1,065,388 to leap from 38th to ninth in the Race to Dubai as Horsey and Li also collected the biggest cheques of their careers - €557,077 each.

"It means a lot," said Olesen, who had missed seven of his previous 10 cuts and ended up driving a buggy for compatriot and 2018 captaincy favourite Thomas Bjorn at the Ryder Cup.

"It's been a bad spell for me the last three or four months. I played well at the start of the season and felt like I had a good chance to actually make the Ryder Cup team, but in the summer there, I just got into a bad spell and played bad in the big events."

And the Dane, who was sixth on his Masters debut in 2013, is keen to push on now, insisting: "I feel like my game is good enough to compete in all the biggest tournaments and the Majors. It's obviously the goal to win a Major at some point in my career."

Pádraig Harrington was left to rue five dropped shots on the 10th over the four rounds as he found water off the tee and then three-putted for a closing double-bogey six and a 69 that left him tied 31st on five-under par.

"Obviously it didn't lend itself to a 210-yard second shot, or third shot as it turned out," Harrington said of the tee-shot at the 10th and subsequent miss from six feet for bogey that ended up costing him more than €25,000.

On his missed putt, he shrugged: "Such is life. I holed the right putt two weeks ago in Portugal so I won't worry about that.

"I played nice and solid, the same as I played in Portugal, I just didn't get as many breaks this week. There's so many good things about my game, so I'll just keep doing the same old, same old."

Despite earning €45,875, he fell five places to 48th in the Race to Dubai with just this week's Nedbank Championship in South Africa and next week's DP World Tour Championship to come.

Danny Willett shot a 75 that only beat two Turkish amateurs yesterday and left him tied 68th on two-over par. Willett remains second in the Race to Dubai, €252,164 behind Henrik Stenson, while Rory McIlroy, not playing with Stenson and Willett in Sun City, is €1.019m behind the Swede.

Irish Independent

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