Here's what you need to know about the twin teenagers from Denmark, who have already made a big impact on the European Tour stage
After turning professional at the start of 2019, twin brothers Rasmus and Nicolai Højgaard have commanded the attention of the golf world on several occasions.
The brothers, who turned 19-years-old on the 12th March 2020, have successfully transitioned from decorated amateur golfers to serious contenders on the European Tour.
Here’s what you need to know about their careers so far…
Part of a golfing family
Rasmus and Nicolai Højgaard are identical twins from Denmark who turned professional in early 2019.
Tipped for success by 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn, both Højgaard brothers have impressed over the past year.
Rasmus became the first player born in the 21st century to earn their card at European Tour Qualifying School last year, and claimed his maiden title at the AFRASIA Bank Mauritius Open in December. He is 184th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Nicolai plays on the Challenge Tour and is 435th on the Official Golf World Ranking, but has also impressed in various starts on the European Tour, recording a runner-up finish at the KLM Open and taking the first round lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The amateur stage
The pair shone on the amateur stage, with Rasmus winning the 2018 Toyota Junior World Cup, while his brother Nicolai reached number five in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The twins also made history in the prestigious Eisenhower Trophy, where alongside John Axelsen, they led Denmark to a first World Amateur Team Championship title.
As amateurs, Nicolai was the more successful of the two individually. He secured back to back wins in his homeland at the Bravo Tours Open - by Visit Tonder and then on his next start at the Hovborg Kro Open three weeks later. A sixth placed finish at the German Boys Open followed before second at the Toyota Junior World Cup. He also won the European Amateur Championship at the Royal Hague Golf & Country Club, finishing one stroke ahead of a group of players that included Viktor Hovland.
The Højgaard brothers both represented Europe in The 2018 Junior Ryder Cup. They even played together on the first morning as they halved their Foursomes match against Akshay Bhatia and Michael Thorbjornsen. Rasmus would go on to secure a resounding 5&4 victory in the Mixed Fourballs too, partnering Italy’s Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri to defat an American duo of Bhatia and Yealimi Noh. Further success followed in Tuesday’s Singles where Rasmus beat William Moll 1UP to claim an impressive 2 ½ points in the narrow defeat against Team USA at Disneyland Golf.
Rookie season on the Challenge Tour
After playing a starring role in The Junior Ryder Cup, Rasmus and Nicolai joined the paid ranks and started competing on the European Challenge Tour.
Rasmus hit the ground running, sharing second place in his first start at the Challenge de Espana. It was one of six top tens that saw him end his debut season as a professional in 21st place in the Challenge Tour rankings.
Nicolai played in half as many starts (ten) as his brother, and recorded four top 20s on the Challenge Tour in 2019 – in addition to three top tens in events on the Nordic Golf League. He finished his first season ranked 90th in the Challenge Tour standings, and missed out on earning his European Tour card at the final stage Qualifying School.
History at Q-School
Buoyed by an excellent campaign, Rasmus travelled from the Challenge Tour Grand Final to the Final Stage of European Tour Qualifying School. Despite opening with a two over par 73, he signed for four sub-70 rounds out of his next five to finish fifth and earn a European Tour card.
In doing so Rasmus wrote his name into the history books by becoming the first player born in the 2000s to graduate from Q-School.
In just his fifth start, Rasmus continued the impressive beginnings to his professional career as he became the third youngest player in history to win on the European Tour during a dramatic play-off at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
At 18 years and 271 days old, his victory made him the fastest Dane to a European Tour title, beating 15-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjorn's record of 24 events.
Meanwhile, Nicolai commanded the headlines when he finished runner-up to Sergio Garcia at the KLM in September. Chasing his first professional victory, he tied the lead with Garcia, but his eagle chance to force a play-off on the 18th slid past the hole.
He has since played in eighth further European Tour events, grabbing the attention of the golf world after a first round 64 moved him in to the first round lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Hojgaard would slip back over the next three days, but Bjorn still paid credit to both teenage brothers on social media, who are looking to become just the fourth pair of brothers to win on the European Tour.
“Nicolai and Rasmus Højgaard are some serious talent...” tweeted Bjorn. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen two players this young with such a complete package to be successful. Technique, physique, believe and attitude. The next 25 years will be fun to watch”