Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Launch of the ISPS Handa Perth International  (European Tour)
Launch of the ISPS Handa Perth International (European Tour)

Thorbjørn Olesen is hoping local knowledge will stand him in good stead when he defends a European Tour title for the first time this week at the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

The Dane was victorious at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in 2014 but did not have the chance to defend his title last season as the tournament took a one-year break.

The 26 year old's other victories came in the last staging of the Sicilian Open in 2012 and last year's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, meaning he has not yet had the opportunity to defend a crown on The European Tour.

And while Olesen admitted there is more pressure on him coming into the tournament, he was in a confident mood ahead of his campaign in Perth.

"It's great," he said. "I've never tried it before, so I don't really know how it's going to feel on Thursday. But I've been looking forward to this tournament and looking forward to defending. Hopefully it will be a good week.

"I think it puts more pressure on you but it's also nice to go out there and know you can win on this golf course. And I saw a lot of different places last year, so I know what to do from those places.

It's a great feeling but it definitely puts a bit more pressure on you - Thorbjørn Olesen

Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson, who finished second here in 2014, Major champion Louis Oosthuizen and last week's winner Marcus Fraser are among a strong field trying to take the title off Olesen, and they joined the defending champion at Perth's new $2.6billion landmark development, Elizabeth Quay, to launch the tournament. Olesen knows he will have to be at his best this week.

"There are so many players who can win," he said. "You see that every week on The European Tour. You've got to play some great golf and you've got to hole the putts to be up there in contention.

"It's always difficult, but it's nice for me to know that I played well on this golf course and I really enjoy it."

Fraser's win at the Maybank Championship Malaysia was his first since 2010 and the Australian admits he surprised even himself with his victory in Kuala Lumpur.

The 37 year old was looking at Friday night flights after his practice round at Royal Selangor Golf Club but now, after moving up to 62nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, he has his eyes on a place in the top 50 and a spot at the Masters Tournament.

"It's at the front (of my mind) I think," he said. "At the start of last week, I couldn't have been further away from thinking about that but now, all of a sudden, it's been thrown in front of me.

"It's a great opportunity. I've never played the Masters. It's something as golfers we all dream of doing.

"I've got no one else to blame if it doesn't happen and it's entirely up to me to try to do everything I can to prepare properly to try to get one of those spots."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2LEVY, AlexanderFRA18-15
T4BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-13
T4UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-13
6WATTEL, RomainFRA18-12

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