30 April 2021: Thorbjørn Olesen continued the blistering start to his 2021 Race to Dubai as a course record 62 handed him the first round lead at the Tenerife Open.
The 31-year-old only played his first event of the season last week after suffering a wrist injury and then celebrating the birth of son Cooper earlier this month.
He showed few signs of rust as he carded a 61 en route to finishing fifth at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open and brought that form with him to Golf Costa Adeje, carding ten birdies and a single dropped shot to get to nine under.
The in form duo of John Catlin and Garrick Higgo were a shot off the lead alongside Alexander Björk, with Dean Burmester also at eight under after arguably producing the round of the day in the more difficult afternoon conditions.
At nine under with four holes to play, Olesen had a chance at a 59 on a low scoring day, while Catlin was ten under after 13 holes but could not convert to join Oliver Fisher in the sub 60 club on the European Tour.
Olesen revealed last week that he had no expectations when he arrived in the Canary Islands last week and, despite firing two course records in seven days, he was still keeping the pressure off himself.
“To be honest my expectations for this week are low as well,” he said. “I was very happy to finish top five (last week), that was amazing. I haven’t been that high on a leaderboard for a very long time; being in contention again was a great feeling and something I’ve missed very much for the last few years.
“I don’t set high expectations now, I found something last week and was making birdies. Today my putting was great and no wind to start made it a bit easier. I’m trying to take every day as it is and concentrate on the shot and see what’s happening.”
He added: “I think the first nine holes was the best putting display I’ve shown for a very long time – I just had to look at it and it went in.”
Starting on the back nine, Olesen took advantage of the par five 11th, 13th and 18th, adding further gains on the 15th, 16th and 17th to turn in 30.
A two putt birdie on the par five first made it five in a row and when he followed another on the fourth with a tee shot to tap in range at the par three fifth, history was beckoning.
A bogey on the eighth stalled his momentum but he picked the shot back up from 12 feet on the ninth to set the target.
Catlin had got past him as the American made four birdies in a row from the 11th and added another on the 16th, before making five on the spin from the 18th.
A tee shot to six feet on the 16th handed him a golden opportunity for another birdie but he could not convert, and back to back bogeys on the eighth and ninth put Olesen back in the lead.
Playing partner Higgo also turned in 30 – with the help of an eagle on the 13th – but a bogey on the second slowed the South African’s progress before he picked up shots on the third, sixth and seventh.
Swede Björk made birdies on the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh before dropping a shot on the ninth but bounced back on the 11th, 13th, 14th and last.
Burmester birdied the first but gave the shot back on the third before turning in 32 with gains on the sixth, seventh and ninth. He also picked up shots on the 12th and 13th and then holed a long putt on the 16th and got down in two from the fringe at the last.
Spaniard Eduard Rousaud, Finn Kalle Samooja, Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist and German Nicolai von Dellingshausen were then at seven under, a shot clear of Spanish duo Pep Angles and Adri Arnaus, English pair Laurie Canter and Toby Tree, Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and Dutchman Joost Luiten.
Luiten produced the highlight of the day when he made a hole-in-one for the second consecutive week, holing a seven iron at the 164 yard second to make it seven events in a row with an ace and 15 for the season.
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