30 Aug 2018

Olesen in prime position as Ryder Cup race comes to an end in Denmark

The battle to make Thomas Bjørn’s Ryder Cup team comes to a close this weekend at the Made in Denmark with Thorbjørn Olesen, Eddie Pepperell and Matthew Fitzpatrick looking to clinch the final automatic qualifying spot.

Olesen is currently the man to beat thanks to his fine run of form since June which consists of five top-tens on the European Tour, including a first Rolex Series title at the Italian Open, where he pipped Race to Dubai leader Francesco Molinari by one stroke. The 28 year old cannot be caught by the two Englishman if he finishes in a tie for seventh place with one player or better in front of a home crowd at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club.

“It was nice to have some time off last week to prepare for this special event,” said the Dane. “This is like the fifth Major for the Danish players so it’s great to be here. Hopefully, I can get a good result, that’s the only thing on my mind.”

Fitzpatrick, who will be hoping to compete in his second Ryder Cup after making his debut at Hazeltine in 2016, must get his hands on the Made in Denmark trophy if he is to have any chance of automatically qualifying for the biennial tournament. Should he get the win, the 23 year old would need Olesen to finish no better than tied for seventh with two players in order to overtake him.

“I know what I need to do. I’ve seen the permutations to get automatic qualification, this week is a big week as is next week,” said the 2015 British Masters champion, “I know Thomas is announcing his picks next Wednesday, if I can put it in a good performance here and then show the signs that I’m playing well then you never know.

“I think everyone has got in their own mind who is in Thomas’ mind and who deserves a pick and who is on the fringes. A good week this week and hopefully I can push myself into the final places. This has been my main goal, to make this Team, I’ve become good friends with Thomas and to play for his Team in France would be amazing.”

Qatar Masters winner Eddie Pepperell also needs to taste victory in Denmark whilst hoping Olesen finishes outside the top 12 for a debut Ryder Cup appearance. ” There’s a lot on the line this weekend which is good for the Made in Denmark,” said the 27 year old. ” It’s going to be a fun weekend and hopefully I don’t spoil Thorbjorn’s party!”

Meanwhile, Ryder Cup captain Bjørn doesn’t hold up much hope of winning a 16th European Tour title in his homeland. “I have no expectations for my own golf this week. If you see my name in the draw on Saturday then you will know it’s been a good week!” said the former Dubai Desert Classic champion. “I just have so much on at the moment that I haven’t been able to spend any time practising recently and if you don’t do that then it eventually starts to show in your game.

“But I am delighted to be here, delighted to be playing and I will go out there on Thursday and do everything I can to play my best. I do feel I am playing ok, but scoring becomes extremely difficult when you are not into your own game. I spend more time looking at other players just now, but that is the position I am in and it is a position that I love being in.

“I have been involved in a lot of decisions that are made in the Ryder Cup and between myself, Lee, Robert, Padraig and Graeme we will use all of our experience to try and arrive at the best decisions for the team. That will be the case then we are making picks next week and during the week itself.”

Bjørn will announce his four wildcard selections on September 5th.


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