British Open Upstart Thorbjorn Olesen Leads After Round 2 in Austria
When a lengthy birdie putt dropped to end his second round of the British Open, Thorbjorn Olesen's career changed.
The put put him in the penultimate pairing entering the weekend of golf's third major, playing alongside Tiger Woods.
The relative unknown held his own, shooting just one shot worse than Tiger on Saturday. He faltered in the final round, however.
A week after his first taste of major contention, the Dane has taken his game to Austria, and is putting the experience to good use.
Thanks to rounds of 64 and 68, Olesen holds the lead at the halfway point of the Lyoness Open at 12-under par.
Through the first two days, Olesen carded just one bogey as he continues to build on the positive momentum generated last week at Royal Lytham.
Despite a shaky first nine holes in the second round, Olesen bounced back with three birdies after the turn to build a three-shot lead.
Olesen was very much under the radar entering the Open Championship, but has been quietly playing exceptional golf in 2012.
The 22-year-old won his first Tour event at the Sicilian Open earlier this year. A top-10 finish at the British slid him inside the top 100 in the world golf rankings.
Ryo Ishikawa, Matteo Manassero, and John Huh are ranked No. 64, 65, and 66 in the world, respectively. Those three are also the only players in the top 100 that are younger than Olesen.
The No. 99 spot Olesen currently occupies will improve drastically again if he can notch his second victory of the year.
Considering his age and relative success, Olesen must be considered as one of golf's emerging stars. If not, he should at least be a bigger name than he is right now, especially in the U.S.
After establishing himself as a winner on the Nordic League and the Challenge Tour, Olesen took the next step to the European Tour.
In his debut, Olesen finished tied for second at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Rory McIlroy might be fielding a lot of criticism for missing cuts lately, but his record is nothing compared to the trials and tribulations of Olesen.
Although Olesen tied for second in two other tournaments as a rookie, he ultimately suffered through wildly inconsistent play. He missed 19 cuts, including eight in his last 11 events.
When he broke through in Italy on April Fools' Day, Olesen proved he could close the deal against some of the best in the world.
After Friday's round, Olesen certainly had the attitude of a champion:
I’ve been playing well for the past few months really, so I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t win.
Ironically, he will have to hold off Frenchman Thomas Levet, who sits in second place.
At the 2011 Alstom Open de France, Olesen bogeyed the 72nd hole, allowing Levet to win the tournament by one stroke.
If Olesen can become a multiple winner on Sunday, he will cement his status as an elite young talent, and a legitimate force to be reckoned with in the world of golf.
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