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Wednesday, 09 May 2018
Thorbjørn Olesen  (Getty Images)
Thorbjørn Olesen (Getty Images)

Thorbjørn Olesen claimed his first European Tour win at Verdura Golf Club six years ago and he still believes he has the perfect game to triumph in Sicily.

The Dane has since added to that tally of wins and a victory at this week's Rocco Forte Sicilian Open would take his total to five as he looks to impress countryman and Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn ahead of the biennial spectacular at Le Golf National.

The layout at Verdura is similar to the one Olesen grew up playing in Denmark and with windy conditions almost guaranteed, he is looking forward to a challenge with which he feels comfortable.

"Unfortunately my flight was delayed so it did not get in until really late last night," he said. "I really enjoy this place, the hotel and everything about, so I would have liked to have been here a little bit earlier to take it all in but I'm happy I am here and it's nice to be back.

"It was obviously a great week. I grew up in Denmark in a very similar area, very open and quite windy, so I think it makes sense that I won here my first time and, yeah, there are a lot of good memories and obviously the first win is something really special, so it is nice to be back.

"I remember it is always pretty windy here, it is so close to the ocean and that makes it tricky, especially to hit these fairways coming in on different angles and when it blows it is really difficult. I saw today they have changed the course slightly, there are some new holes, so it is a little bit different."

Eddie Pepperell claimed his maiden victory earlier this season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February but has played just two stroke play events since, missing the cut on both occasions.

The Englishman admits that was not an ideal situation but after enjoying his experience at last week's GolfSixes, he believes his game is trending in the right direction ahead of the busy summer schedule.

"Last week I was just keen on picking up on some shot patterns because I haven't been playing great recently," he said. "So, while I was there to have fun, I was also keeping a close eye on my swing and my shot patterns.

"This week is going to be more of the same leading up to Wentworth, the forecast is windy and it's going to be a challenging week in that respect because you are going to have to control the ball really well. It is going to tell me a lot, to be honest, of where my swing is at and that's something I am looking forward to, grabbing the feedback for next week at home so I can take that into Wentworth and Italy.

"I certainly want to come out here and play well. I feel like my game is pretty good in practice.

"Having six weeks off straight off the back of Qatar was a little bit of a shame for me. When I came back out in Spain I was a bit rustier, a few pounds too heavy, to be honest, and my swing just sort of crept away from me a little bit.

"I picked up on that and me and my coach have gone back to what I was doing really well last year, amending it slightly, but it looks pretty good on camera now so I am pretty optimistic.

"My putting feels kind of decent, which last year let me down a lot, so I don't want to say too much but I feel like I am seeing a lot of good things today."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAGERGREN, JoakimSWE18-16
2LORENZO-VERA, MikeFRA18-16
T3HERBERT, LucasAUS18-15
T3SULLIVAN, AndyENG18-15
5BJERREGAARD, LucasDEN18-14
6GUERRIER, JulienFRA18-13

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