Former Challenge Tour player Thorbjørn Olesen made a special appearance at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club on Wednesday, where he played in the pro-am with his father and two friends.
The 22 year old returned to where his burgeoning career began, having graduated from the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2010, an achievement which has sparked two stunning seasons on The European Tour.
Olesen, a Copenhagen resident, has taken a week off competition before he flies to China on Saturday for next week’s BMW Masters, but found time to pop along to Royal Golf Club to catch up with some old friends.
“I still keep in touch with some of the guys from the Challenge Tour,” he said. “It’s hard to see people when I’m away so often, but I always look at who’s doing what on the Challenge Tour and it’s amazing to see so many of the Danish guys doing well.
“We could have four coming up to The European Tour next year, which is great. I was very happy for Andreas (Hartø) winning last week, and JB (Joachim B Hansen) has been one of the most consistent players all year.
“I got a call last night asking if I wanted to play today, and I jumped at the chance. I quickly rang my dad and asked two good friends of mine as well. We had a fantastic time and one of my mates had a hole-in-one. The team spirit was very high and we had a lot of fun.”
Olesen is the perfect example of what can be achieved after coming through the Challenge Tour. As a rookie in 2011 he finished 48th in The Race to Dubai with earnings of €637,703 – helped considerably by runner-up finishes in the BMW Italian Open and Alstom Open de France.
Exceeding even his own expectations, the Dane was 19th in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and then represented his country in the Mission Hills World Cup alongside Anders Hansen.
This year he had two top tens (in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and Trophée Hassan II) before claiming his maiden title in the Sicilian Open, and eight more top 20 finishes have followed that victory, notably another second place in the recent Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
At 14th in The Race to Dubai, his 2012 earnings have broken through the €1million mark and he has risen to 59th in the Official World Golf Ranking.