*Thorbjørn Olesen (Photo DP World Tour)
Gurugram, 21 February : In-form Thorbjørn Olesen, winner of the Thailand Classic last week, will spearhead the large Danish contingent challenge at the US$ 2 million Hero Indian Open, to be played at the DLF Golf and Country Club here from 23 February
Olesen, who is now among the Top-five of the DP Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings,. will be here gunning for back-to-back success for the first time in his career as he tees up in India for the first time . No Dane has won the Hero Indian Open since it was first held in 1964.
He is not the only one to feel confident after a fine win in Thailand. Among the top four from Thailand Classic, Yannik Paul of Germany was sole second, while Alexander Knappe, who won twice on the Challenge Tour, and Joost Luiten, a six-time winner on DP World Tour, were tied third.
In addition, Nicolai Højgaard was tied fifth and Jeunghun Wang, a three-time winner on DP World Tour was eighth. Wang returned to golf and the Tour in July 2022 after doing his national duty in military service and is keen to add to his kitty. Wang, once ranked as high as 39th in the world, has recent Top-10 finishes in Singapore (T-3) and Thailand (8).
In the Hero Indian Open, Olesen will have a lot of company from his country. His friend and mentor, fellow Dane Thoms Bjørn is here as is Nicolai Højgaard. Nicolai along with his twin, Rasmus, is considered by many as one of the best prospects to emerge from Europe in recent times.
While India will have the most participants, there is a strong Danish contingent led by veteran Bjørn, there will be a host of Danes in India this week. The others are Soren Kjeldsen, who has four DP World Tour wins; Nicolai Højgaard, who at 21 has already won twice; Lucas Bjerregaard, who has won twice; Jeff Winther, a one-time winner; Martin Simonsen, Cristoffer Bring and John Axelsen.
Olesen had a fine start in 2023 at the Hero Cup and was in the Top-20 at Abu Dhabi and Hero Dubai Desert Classic, before finishing Tied-4th in Ras Al Khaimah. In Thailand, he won his seventh DP World Tour title and the first since his Betfred British Masters last year.
Olesen, keen on getting into the Ryder Cup team stayed in the sub-100 zone till 2019 before falling. The Covid period was not kind as he dropped beyond 400. He has now started recovering his rankings and the Hero Cup was his first step towards it and he is now building on it.
Speaking on the experience of the Ryder Cup, Olesen, said, “I’ve tried it in Paris and had that experience. You would love to come back and play more Ryder Cups. It’s going to be very difficult but this is certainly a very good start to try and get into that team.”