Morecambe and Wise. Thelma and Louise. Laurel and Hardie. There have been plenty of unique double acts over the years but none perhaps as colourful in golf as Scandinavia’s Batman and Robin, Thorbjørn Olesen and Joel Sjöholm, both of whom fired themselves into contention on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Sjoholm, the Chilean-born Swede, and Olesen, the Danish 22 year old, are firm friends both on and off the course and share a love of distinctive fashion with the former having a proclivity for plus-fours and the latter a penchant for dazzling colours.
Their fortunes were firmly in sync on Friday, too, as the pair surged into a tie for second in Scotland, five shots behind South African revelation Branden Grace.
The Swedish half of the duo signed for a five under par 67 on the Old Course at St Andrews, while Olesen posted a three under par 69 on the challenging Carnoustie Championship Course.
“It was a pleasure,” said Sjöholm, who carded seven birdies and a double bogey at the Fife links. “This was the first time I have played 18 holes at St Andrews, so it’s been an absolutely fantastic adventure for me.
“It has been a really good day. Now I honestly understand why everybody’s talking so much about it, and I don’t know the history, so you cannot quiz me on that, but I guess that on a course like this a lot of things can happen.
“I can see myself that today I’ve been a little bit lucky, I’m hitting drives, they might be in the bunker or all these bushes everywhere and we find them and some guys might just stripe it in the fairway. This course is absolutely amazing.”
Olesen claimed his first European Tour title earlier this year at the Sicilian Open – a source of some badinage in the two’s friendship – and the Dane put himself in position to mount a weekend charge at Carnoustie despite a more up and down round that featured three bogeys but six birdies.
“It’s been good the last two days, definitely,” Olesen reflected. “I hit a lot of solid drives and good irons, too. I actually thought I left a few out there today – it could have been a few more but three under is still a good score at Carnoustie.”
Having seen his friend’s good score at St Andrews, the Fursø man talked up the inspiration behind his birdie finish.
“I was standing on the last three holes and I thought, ‘I need to make a birdie just to tie him (Sjöholm).’ It was quite funny.
“We have a really good friendship and I think that’s good for our games also.”
The world has a fondness for duos and were either man to overhaul Grace come Sunday evening, a highly popular Dunhill Links Champion would be born.
A sage once said, “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down,” but in the case of Olesen and Sjöholm, both are inexorably on the way up.