Friday, 20 July 2012
Thorbjorn Olesen   (Getty Images)
Thorbjorn Olesen (Getty Images)

Just 18 months after graduating from the Challenge Tour, Thorbjørn Olesen will face the biggest day of his golfing life when he tees up alongside 14 time Major Champion Tiger Woods in the third round of The 141st Open Championship.

The 22 year old Dane birdied the last two holes, draining a 25 foot putt across the 18th green, to join Woods in tomorrow’s penultimate pairing at Royal Lytham & St Annes, and a day unlike anything he has experienced before awaits.

Olesen occupies fourth place at the halfway stage at five under par 135, one behind Woods and just five behind leader Snedeker in only his second Open, and indeed Major, appearance.

The winner of the Sicilian Open has never even met Woods, his hero since he took up the game, and admitted he has no idea what to expect when he steps on the first tee tomorrow with Tiger on the prowl.

“He's been my idol in so many years,” he said. “So it's fantastic to have a chance to play with him.  And I'm really looking forward to it. I think it's going to be something special.  So just going to go out there and enjoy it.”

Olesen enjoyed an impressive rookie season on The European Tour last year, finishing 48th on The Race to Dubai after graduating from the Challenge Tour in third place the previous season. Widely tipped to become the next golfing superstar to emerge from Denmark, Olesen claimed his maiden victory in Sicily in April but that is a far cry from what he will experience tomorrow.

Asked if he had the strength of personality to block out the commotion that follows Woods’ every move, Olesen simply replied: “I don't know, I've never tried it before. 

“But hopefully I do.  I have a lot of confidence, and I believe I can do it.  It's going to be a lot of fun I think.”

The par threes have been particularly kind to Olesen this week as he has birdied six of the eight he has played over the first two days, plus he also birdied the second play-off hole at Sunningdale to qualify for The Open in the first place during International Final Qualifying.

“I've hit my irons amazing the last three or four weeks, actually. I've just hit them really close.  So my caddie - he didn't understand why I didn't make the putt on the first to make a birdie there,” he joked.

He may be heading for unchartered waters, but Olesen is playing well and who knows what will happen tomorrow.

“I didn't expect there to be up there,” he admitted.   “But I knew I had the game for it and it's nice to play really well the first two days.  But there's still a lot of golf to be played.”


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