Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen has overcome a late charge from Englishman David Horsey to win the rich Turkish Airlines Open by three strokes.
Some sensational golf over the first three days, including a second round 62, at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya had Olesen heading into the final round with a seven-shot lead.
But that mammoth lead was slashed to just two strokes by the time Olesen reached the 10th tee. The Dane played the front nine in even par, but Horsey caught lightning with five birdies to be out in 29 including a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 9th hole.
Horsey then birdied the long 12th to get to six under for the day and within one stroke of Olesen. But Olesen, playing in the group behind, matched his nearest challenger’s birdie just moments later to maintain the two-stroke buffer. Further birdies at the 14th and 15th holes pushed Olesen’s lead to three shots.
Both Olesen and Horsey bogied the 16th hole maintaining the three-shot status quo and Olesen steadied to par home for a two under 69 and the win.
The 26 year old finished on 20 under par, with Horsey (65) sharing second with China’s Li Haotong, who had five back nine birdies to card a 65.
“I actually slept alright the last couple of days,” Olesen said when asked about his huge overnight lead. “It was a weird feeling – I knew the guys today were able to shoot a low number so I had to make a few birdies. After nine holes guys were shooting really low numbers so all of a sudden there was a lot of pressure on.
“I felt like I kept it pretty steady. Obviously the last four holes were tough mentally.”
Olesen’s last win was at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews last year, which came after a miserable run of 13 missed cuts in 18 tournaments. His return to the winner’s circle in Turkey this week came at the tail end of a similar form slump, with nine missed cuts from his previous dozen starts.
“It means a lot,” he added. “The last couple of months have been pretty poor and I haven’t played well and all of a sudden you’re leading by a big margin and it was difficult when you haven’t been playing well for that long.”
Olesen is proving to be a great front runner. Each of the four times he has won on the European Tour, he has led into the final round.
Queensland’s Scott Hend, the only Australian in the field, closed out his tournament with a one under 70 to finish equal 25th at six under.