The European Tour visits Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort for the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA this week and we have taken a look at the key storylines ahead of the tournament.
Made in Denmark presented by FREJA returns to its traditional home of Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort this year after being held at Silkeborg Ry GC in 2018. The tournament moved to Silkeborg as it is the home course of 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn, and the event was the last chance for potential Team Europe members to claim their automatic spot for the biennial contest. As it transpired Thorbjørn Olesen was the man to secure his place in Bjørn’s team following a tied 20th place finish, holding off challenges from English duo Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell, who were the only players who could have surpassed him.
Another man who was in the running for a Ryder Cup spot was Englishman Matt Wallace, who missed out on an automatic place and was overlooked for a wildcard pick in favour of Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson. It was, however, still a fantastic year for Wallace who triumphed three times on the European Tour, including at the Made in Denmark. Wallace defeated a trio of compatriots, Steven Brown, Jonathan Thomson and Lee Westwood, in a four-way play-off at Silkeborg Ry GC, registering a birdie on the second extra hole against Brown after Thomson and Westwood had bowed out. He will defend his title this week after recording his best Major Championship finish to date last week, a tied third place finish in the US PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park BK Course, New York.
Challenge Tour success
Wallace’s win was the fifth victory by a former European Challenge Tour player in the five editions of the Made in Denmark. Marc Warren, who graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2005, won the first staging of the Danish event back in 2014, while 2008 graduate David Horsey triumphed in 2015, before Thomas Pieters, a regular on Europe’s top developmental tour in 2013, won in 2016.
American Julian Suri then made the most of his limited European Tour starts while still a Challenge Tour player by winning at Himmerland in 2017, before Wallace’s victory continued the run of Challenge Tour success last year.
Nicknamed ‘Himmerland Hill’ by local fans, the 128-yard par three 16th hole features a green set in a bowl surrounded by steep banks, which the passionate Danish fans take over during event week. Those banks provide the perfect setting to a postage-stamp two-tier green, and the natural amphitheatre has space for around 3,500 fans, creating a cauldron of noise for players making the short journey from tee to putting surface.
The European Tour has teamed up with Dreamhack to launch its first esports competition - the European eTour Championship - at this week’s Made in Denmark presented by FREJA. Eight of the best players of the online golf game “World Golf Tour” by Topgolf will go head-to-head in a knockout match play format for a prize fund of $5,000 – the biggest prize pool in an esports golf tournament. The quarter-finals will take place on May 23 while the semi-finals and Grand Final will be played on May 24.