The European Tour touches down at the treacherous Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort this week, as some of golf’s lesser-known stars battle it out for glory in the Made in Denmark event.
With the PGA Championship’s competitors taking a much-needed week off after serving up a thrilling contest at Valhalla, the stage is set for one golfer to really make his mark in Aalborg.
The field of 155 still features some remarkable talents, though, and here you'll find a round-by-round analysis of the action.
Round 4 Recap
Scotland's Marc Warren seized his first title since winning the 2007 Johnnie Walker Championship Sunday in Denmark thanks to a three under via five birdies to counter two bogeys.
Sporting life captured the special moment:
"It feels incredible," Warren said, according to The Associated Press, via USA Today. "Today I kept telling myself I was swinging the club really well and I was confident in what I was doing."
He also took the time to praise the more than 80,000 fans fans who watched the tournament:
"The crowds have been amazing," Warren said. "Coming down those last four holes, the crowds were so big."
Warren's run of downright special form is best explained by Tom Greaves:
What a month for Marc Warren! Qualified for the Open, finished 3rd at the Scottish Open, T15th at the USPGA...then wins in Denmark. #Form— Tom Greaves (@TomGreavesGolf) August 17, 2014
Bradley Dredge, the only real threat to Warren's title for most of the event, shot a 70 on the day. Six birdies sound great, but as has been the case for the 41-year-old star's entire tournament, he was erratic at best overall and added five bogeys.
Behind Warren and Dredge were Thomas Bjorn, Oliver Fisher and Eddie Pepperell, who all shot a 69 Sunday.
Here is a look at the final leaderboard:
Lasse Jensen was one of the final day's biggest movers, shooting a four-under 67 on the round to catapult up 15 spots on the leaderboard thanks to seven birdies to three bogeys.
The tour next sets its eyes on the Czech Republic for the D+D Real Czech Masters, another new addition.
Round 3 Recap
Close competition at the top of the leaderboard was the story of Round 3 of the 2014 Made in Denmark tournament. It's Scotland's Marc Warren and Welshman Bradley Dredge who are the players sharing top spot.
Calamity on the 15th hole doomed Dredge and let Warren capitalise as EuropeanTour.com noted:
That made him the clubhouse leader while Dredge played the closing holes and Warren was briefly at the front on his own when the Welshman bogeyed the par four 15th. However, overnight front-runner Dredge recovered with a birdie three at the 17th for a two over par 73, putting him back alongside Warren on six under.
The same report also highlighted how well the players, particularly Warren, dealt with the treacherous conditions:
Gusts of up to 30mph made scoring at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort fiendishly difficult but the Scot carded eight birdies, three consecutively from the 13th with some crisp putting, for a brilliant 66.
The weather was poor for Round 2 and posed its share of problems for those navigating the course on Saturday. But Warren was probably the only player who seemed unfazed:
Here's how the leaderboard looks after the third round:
While Warren and Dredge toiled at the top, one of the day's notable winners was Maybin. He enjoyed a significant rise on the leaderboard and played a measured game.
His steady form was illustrated by hitting par on 13 of 18 holes. However, while Maybin enjoyed his day, Englishman Wakefield took a tumble. He hit a bogey at the second, ninth and 12th holes.
Denmark native Oelesen had an erratic day. He struck a bogey at the third, sixth, ninth and 12th holes. However, the Dane did also produce birdies at the fourth, fifth and 14th.
Round 4 should be the time when Dredge properly asserts himself. He has set the pace for most of the tournament's early stages.
However, his inability to shoot consistent golf has to be a concern. Dredge hit four bogeys in Round 3, after striking a trio in the previous round.
They have to turn into pars if he's going to outlast the challenge from Warren. The Scot is so far making quick work of the course, evidenced by the eight birdies he managed in the third round.
However, it seems unlikely that a player can maintain that kind of pace. If Warren slips, Dredge has to take his chance to reassert himself.
The weather took a turn for the worse on the second day of the 2014 Made in Denmark event, with pouring rain and a lightning threat making conditions even harder for the field on the treacherous course of the Himmerland Resort.
The European Tour tweeted this picture, taken early in the afternoon:
It's raining pretty heavily now. Shame, with Thomas Bjorn and Bradley Dredge ticking along nicely pic.twitter.com/kxSrS30c2p— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 15, 2014
Bradley Dredge continued his fine play on Friday, shooting three-under par 68 to give himself a four-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard going into the third round.
The Welshman was up and down on Friday, collecting two bogeys and two birdies on the front nine before turning things around on the back nine, with one bogey and four birdies. He still holds a nice lead at the top of the leaderboard and took advantage of the struggles of others to put himself in the driver's seat for his third European Tour event win.
Simon Wakefield was the biggest riser of the day, playing a fantastic round of golf to put him firmly in contention for the title. The Englishman finished the second round with a score of four-under-par 67 after playing an even round on the opening day and currently sits second on the leaderboard.
Wakefield had a chance to finish the day without a single blemish but ran into a bogey on the final hole, offsetting the three birdies he scored on the back nine. Two more birdies on the front nine gave him an excellent score on the day, however, and the 40-year-old has to feel good about his chances of coming away with the win.
Estanislao Goya came up with the shot of the day, scoring a hole-in-one on the 10th hole. As shared by The European Tour, the shot won him a brand new golf cart, courtesy of Garia:
Goya spoke to the European Tour's website about his shot for the ages:
"Actually, it was a very good shot. I had 153 yards and I hit it, actually, my partner, the one I played with hit it first. And I was a little bit long, between eight and nine, so I said it's a perfect nine (iron). And I actually had a really good shot, just a couple of yards short of the hole. And it went straight in, so it was really good."
It was the Argentine's first ever ace on the European Tour, a special moment for any player.
Thomas Bjorn lost his lead on the leaderboard on Friday, shooting two-over 73 after finishing his first round five-under par. The local favourite struggled tremendously from the tee, failing to find the fairway once in 14 tries.
Bjorn played a perfect round on Thursday but opened his account on Friday with a bogey, and he would add two more before the day was over. He was able to limit the damage to just two-over, however, and if he can recover from his bad showing on Friday, he should remain the favourite for the title.
Roger Chapman loves the beard the Ryder Cup hopeful is currently sporting:
There's a few beards growing on @EuropeanTour Bjorn's got a right one going on!— ROGER CHAPMAN (@ROGERCHAPMAN1) August 15, 2014
Compatriot Thorbjorn Olesen kept up his fine form, playing a round of one-under 70 to give himself three-under par for the tournament, tied with Bjorn. The 24-year-old credited the great support from the home crowd for his performance, inviting them to keep it up via Twitter:
Thanks to everyone for the great support I got the last 2 days absolute fantastic @MadeInDenmark ! Keep it coming over the weekend :).— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 15, 2014
The 2014 Made in Denmark event will return on Saturday, with all of the familiar names still vying for the title. Home favourite Bjorn continues to be a safe bet to take the championship, but if Dredge can find some consistency in his game, the Welshman could spoil the Danish party.
For full Day 1 highlights, head to the European Tour’s official website.
Round 1 Recap
Home favourite Thomas Bjorn gave the rowdy spectators what they wanted on Thursday, carding a five-under-par 66 to get to the top of the leaderboard.
There, he’s joined by Bradley Dredge and Felipe Aguilar, but the day belonged to Bjorn and his thousands of admirers, as European Tour revealed:
The trio sits three shots clear of Thorbjorn Olesen at the top of the tree, with a congested pack behind the Dane, as seen below:
|Position||Golfer||Thursday's Round||To Par|
|T5||S. S. P. Chowrasia||70||-1|
Himmerland is a notoriously tough course at the best of times, but players weren’t helped on their quest for red numbers by harsh conditions in Aalborg.
The wind was really blowing on Thursday, and as European Tour noted, that made the three leaders' rounds appear phenomenal:
Five-under certainly was a fabulous showing on Day 1, but only the 43-year-old Bjorn managed to reach the total without a blemish on his card. The Dane made three birdies on the front nine and two on the back to fire himself to the top, rolling back the years with an outstanding performance.
Bjorn was clearly elated with his day’s work after the round, saying to the European Tour’s official website that he handled the conditions well with a flawless long game:
It was a tricky day today with the wind, especially on my back nine. But I drove the ball really well and that gives you opportunities on this golf course. So I’m happy with the day, happy with the start and it was pretty solid all the way round. There are a couple of holes out there you have to be careful and be happy to walk off with par. I put in a nice effort today.
While Bjorn’s place in Europe’s Ryder Cup side is looking like a near certainty, a good showing in Denmark will make sure of his place at Gleneagles.
If he continues his Day 1 form as the tournament progresses, then he’ll do more than put together a good showing. However, Dredge and Aguilar may have something to say about that.
Both players had phenomenal front nines to thank for their 66s, with Aguilar going out in 30 and Dredge one worse in 31.
The Welshman kicked off his round with a bogey on the second hole, but six birdies from then on (including five on the front nine) put him at the top of the pile—a round that he’d have happily signed for before getting underway, per European Tour:
I’m pretty pleased with that. Only one bogey and six birdies. If someone offered me 66 before I went out I would certainly have bitten their hand off. It’s nice when you start getting your irons shots in closer and rattling some putts in. I holed a nice 30ft putt on the last, which was a nice way to finish. It’s not easy around here. Even downwind it’s not easy to get it in close. Some into the wind are almost easier.
With scores away from the front three rather disappointing, let’s hope that the weather improves as the players move into Day 2—at least for golf’s sake.
However, with Dredge, Aguilar and Bjorn all seemingly enjoying their day in links-esque conditions, they’ll hope that both they and the weather continue in a similar vain to Thursday, blowing the field away in the process.
For full Day 1 highlights, head to the European Tour’s official website.