Thorbjørn Olesen enhanced his status as one of The European Tour’s rising stars by taking the first round clubhouse lead at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
The 22 year old Dane – looking to succeed compatriot Thomas Björn as champion at The Gleneagles Hotel – carded six birdies and two bogeys in a four under par 68.
That was enough for a one shot lead over Ryder Cup hopeful Nicolas Colsaerts, Scot Richie Ramsay and England’s Richard Finch as the afternoon starters took to the course.
“I hit a lot of good drives, and that's been my problem the last few weeks,” said Olesen. “So it's nice to see the practice has been paying off. I hit a lot of fairways and I'm still hitting the irons really good. I gave myself a lot of chances for birdie, so I was very pleased.
“It would be nice to follow him [Björn]. He's a big idol for me, so it would be really big for me to follow his footsteps. In Italy last year he gave me a little putting lesson and I shot ten under the next day, so it's probably the best advice.”
The display represents the latest in a string of eye-catching performances by Olesen, who claimed his first European Tour title at the Sicilian Open earlier in the year.
That was one of six top-ten finishes already this season, including a ninth-place finish at The Open Championship where he played with Tiger Woods in the third round.
“I got to see that my game is definitely good enough to be in a Major Championship and be up there in contention,” he added. “Obviously playing with Tiger and playing in one of the last groups showed that I can handle the pressure, also, and play well under big pressure, so I was very pleased.
“There were a lot of camera guys and a few bodyguards, and just a massive crowd. It was really special, and it was a great experience for me.
“My goal from the start of the year was to get in the top 20 in The Race to Dubai, and that's still my goal. It’s nice to move up in the World Ranking and it would be nice to move up a little bit more so I can get into the big events.”