Thorbjørn Olesen takes charge in the Lopesan Open

Thorbjorn Olesen powered his way into the lead with a nine-under 61 in the second round. All four Indian golfers missed the cut.

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Thorbjorn Olesen - European Tour - Getty Images

24 April 2021: New father Thorbjørn Olesen admitted he was not expecting to set a course record after a roller coaster start to 2021 as he carded a bogey free 61 to take the halfway lead at the inaugural Gran Canaria Lopesan Open. All four Indians in the field this week – Ajeetesh Sandhu, Shubhankar Sharma, Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chawrasia missed the cut after 36 holes.

Sandhu (66-72) and Bhullar (69-69) were two under through two rounds, when the cut fell at 5-under. Sharma (69-70) was one-under while Chawrasia (74-68), coming off a good result in Austria, fell out despite a fighting 68 in the second round.

The Dane, Olesen, was playing his first event of the 2021 Race to Dubai after suffering a wrist injury early in the year but the arrival of son Cooper in recent weeks helped him put that disappointment behind him.

Despite admitting he was short of practice, the 2018 Ryder Cup player carded seven birdies and an eagle to get to 14 under and lead the way by one shot from Dutchman Wil Besseling and Wales’ Rhys Enoch.

England’s Sam Horsfield and Scotland’s Connor Syme share the course record after 61s of their own in round two left them four and six shots back respectively, and the records continued to tumble at Meloneras Golf.

At five under, the cut mark was one short of the record set in Gran Canaria at the Canarias Open de España 18 years ago, but the shot total of 135 to make the weekend was the lowest in European Tour history.

German Maximilian Kieffer, Frenchman Robin Roussel and Austrian Matthias Schwab were at 12 under.

Thorbjorn Olesen - European Tour - Getty Images
Thorbjorn Olesen – European Tour – Getty Images

Olesen is a five time European Tour winner with a Rolex Series title to his name but the 31-year-old admitted he did not expect to be going for trophy number six this week.

“I was not expecting this,” he said. “It was an amazing experience and obviously to get a son three or four weeks ago, I didn’t have that much practice coming in here, only last week.

“The expectations were pretty low but it was great fun to be out there yesterday and today and shooting such a good number.

“Overall it was good, my putting was really, really good both days – that always helps, obviously – but beside that I was always in play, I hit a lot of fairways over the two days.

“I wasn’t really expecting anything. I was just trying on every shot and not really thinking about it too much and I think that helped me a lot.”

Overnight leader Kieffer birdied his opening hole and while he gave the shot back on the 12th, a hat-trick of gains from the 13th and another at the 18th kept him in command.

Olesen was keeping in touch, however, and he made gains on the tenth, 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th to sit just one back.

Kieffer birdied the par five fourth but Olesen made an eagle on the same hole before both men birdied the next.

Olesen holed from 15 feet on the ninth and a Kieffer bogey on the eighth meant the lead was two, but Besseling set about trimming the gap in the afternoon.

He also birdied the tenth, picking up further shots on the 13th, 16th and 18th to turn in 32.

Another birdie on the first was followed by an excellent up-and-down on the fourth and, when he holed a 20 footer on the next, the 35-year-old was alone in second.

Enoch was in one of the day’s very last groups and he carded a bogey free 62, picking up shots on the first, second, fourth, sixth and eighth to turn in 29 before adding birdies on the tenth, 16th and last.

Roussel was one of the overnight leaders and he made gains on the second, fourth, 12th, 17th and 18th in a bogey free 65, while Schwab also had a clean card, recording a 63 with birdies on the tenth, 13th, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth.

Australian Maverick Antcliff and South African Garrick Higgo were at 11 under, a shot clear of Horsfield, fellow Englishmen Richard Bland and Matt Ford, Dane Joachim B. Hansen and French trio Victor Dubuisson, Romain Langasque and Matthieu Pavon.