Madsen’s extremely consistent form this year, particularly in the last month - recording four top 15 finishes in his last five tournaments - has left him in 14th place in the Challenge Tour Rankings and a win this week would guarantee him a Rookie season on The European Tour in 2013.The former Danish Amateur Champion got off to the perfect start at the fourth-last tournament of the season despite dropping a shot on the third hole, atoning in style with four consecutive birdies from the fifth hole.
Madsen’s putter was on fire and after a birdie at the par three 11th, he holed an important 12-foot putt for par at the 12th to maintain his momentum before further birdies at the 13th and 15th moved him one shot clear of the chasing pack.“I played really well,” said the 24 year old. “I hit a bad shot for that bogey at the third but after that it was really good - I played some nice shots and putted really well.
“I made a lot of putts from 10 to 15 feet but I hit it close a lot too and when I missed the greens my chip shots were to tap-in range so it was nice not to have to work too hard. It was just really solid overall.“I took last week off to rest up after Russia and Kazakhstan. It was nice to do some practice and hang out at home with friends and get ready for this four week stretch so I felt re-energised and ready to go.”
Madsen and his Danish counter-parts were all given a boost this week when it was announced that the penultimate tournament of the season has been moved to Copenhagen after a drought in Italy forced the relocation of the event, now titled the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club.Now he is looking to finish strongly and earn the best category possible for next season’s Race to Dubai, starting with a good result in Lyon.
“It was exciting news to know we’ll go back in play in front of a home crowd,” he said. “I actually haven’t played the course but my caddie lives five minutes away and knows it really well. It should be a good week and a good event.“I'm trying to get into the top ten in the Rankings but you have to play really well to get up there. There are a bunch of good players up there so there will be no free passes. I feel like my game is shaping up nicely so hopefully I can make a run at it.
“Obviously I was hoping to have a win by now on the Challenge Tour but I'm just happy with how I've played this season. I've had my ups and downs and learned my lessons but if I don’t get a win, I've played good golf so I'm not going to be too unhappy.”
There were five players in tied second place on six under par - Sweden’s Bjorn Åkesson, Frenchman Baptiste Chapellan, Australian Daniel Gaunt, José-Filipe Lima of Portugal and England’s Eddie Pepperell.French amateurs Clement Berardo and Romain Langasque were amongst the players a shot further back on four under par and they will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Julien Brun, who became the sixth amateur player to win on the Challenge Tour at the ALLIANZ Golf Open Toulouse Metropole two weeks ago.