Thorbjorn Olesen Produces Stunning Finish to Win British Masters
Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen produced a sensational eagle-birdie finish for the second day in succession to win the BetFred British Masters by a single shot at The Belfry.
It has been a tough road for Olesen, who last victory came in 2018. His win here comes six months after he was cleared of sexually assaulting a woman on board a TransAtlantic flight in 2019.
He claimed that he had not been in control of his body after drinking and taking prescription-only sleeping pills.
Olesen was 62nd in the world at the time but had slipped to 376 and has previously said that he seriously wondered if he would ever be able to return to his best form.
Olesen, 32, led overnight by three shots but made a poor start, hitting it way left off the tee at the first two holes, resulting in dropped shots. As he stepped onto the third tee he found himself tied with playing partner Marcus Armitage, who birdied the opening hole and narrowly missed doing the same thing at the second.
Olesen birdied the third but gave the shot back when he pulled his tee shot into the water and bogeyed the sixth. He then holed a 30-footer to save par at the eighth but bogeyed the ninth to limp to the turn in 38.
He lost his lead for the first time when he three-putted the 14th and bogeyed the par-five next.
By the time Olesen reach the 16th tee he was two behind Sebastian Soderberg, who was safely in the clubhouse on nine under par.
Birdies for the Dane on the last two holes would have forced a play-off. But he went one better, putting from 28 feet to eagle the 17th and then from 35 feet on the 18th for a highly emotional victory.
It was the same finish that he had produced at the end of his third round and it gave him his sixth win on the DP World Tour.
"It's a massive tournament that has been won by so many great names so it's a privilege to have my name on the trophy," Olesen said.
"It was obviously a pretty tough day and I hit a lot of shots to the left. I was really struggling. But I somehow managed to just keep going, and yeah, what a finish. Incredible," Olesen said.
"Standing on the 17th tee, I'm thinking that I can make birdie, birdie and maybe get into a play-off. But obviously when I got the chance on 17, I prefer to take that. Eighteen is a tough hole, so par is a good score obviously. I just gave it everything."
Scotland's Richie Ramsay had been well placed for the win on 10 under heading into the final hole, but he found the water with his approach and ended up with a double bogey to finish two shots back.
Matthew Fitzpatrick produced his best finish on the PGA Tour, firing a final round of 67 to finish joint second at the Wells Fargo Championship. The tournament was won by Max Homa, whose final round of 68 was good enough for an eight-under par total of 272 and a two-shot victory.
Fitzpatrick finished alongside Keegan Bradley and Cameron Young, with Rory McIlroy continuing his good form to close out with a 68 and finish in fifth place on his own. For three rounds McIlroy played superbly. But his second round of 73 gave him too much to do.
Homa moves to sixth place in the FedExCup with his second win of the season, achieved in brutal conditions at TPC Potomac.
“Fortunately I always pack my rain stuff,” said Homa, who began the day two behind Bradley but took control with a four-shot swing on the first four holes. “I also had a good attitude, because I think that was almost more important than what I was wearing.”
Everybody knows about Homa’s languid swing but he is a streaky putter. Not this week though. With help from coach Mark Blackburn and putting guru Phil Kenyon, he was fourth in Strokes Gained: Putting at TPC Potomac.
The course was a fill-in for Quail Hollow, which will host the Presidents Cup later this year. “I care about nothing more than making that Presidents Cup team,” Homa said. “I'm really hoping Captain Davis Love III was watching today or at least somebody messaged him about it.”
If anything, Homa added, TPC Potomac fits his game even better than Quail Hollow.
“The golf course was great for him,” added Homa’s caddie Joe Greiner. “I knew it when we got here Monday. The harder it is, the better it is for him, and he played unreal.”
Bradley battled back after his poor start, remaining in contention until a bogey at the final hole. He has held the 54-hole lead four times and has yet to turn it into a win, finishing runner-up all four times.
“It was a tough day,” he said. “And then I had a couple good stretches, but I had a chance there at the end, so I'm proud of that aspect of it. But I'm pretty bummed. I felt pretty good about this one.”
The conditions during the second and third rounds were horrendous, with torrential rain falling constantly
Stewart Cink, who finished in a tie for ninth place, “It was non-stop rain for two straight days. Every shot. The umbrella was up for 27 of 36 holes, and the other nine it was just because we said, ‘Forget it, who cares? Let’s just get wet.’ It just became such an annoying part of our dance, we got rid of it.
“It was hard on the caddies,” Cink continued. “Hard on the players, hard on the volunteers, and the staff that kept this course going was just amazing. This thing held up.”
The next step for Homa is to contend in a major and he will head to the PGA at Southern Hills next week with his confidence sky-high.
“All of a sudden last year I get in the top 50 in the world,” he said, “and you start looking around and it's a new crop of people and you start thinking to yourself, ‘Am I as good as these guys?’ And then I want to be top-10 in the world, play Presidents Cups, play Ryder Cups.
“Am I good enough to do that?” he continued. “I've always struggled with it, but I have great people around me who bash me over the head telling me that I am that guy. I tried to walk around this week believing that and faking it a little bit until I made it.”
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