The Olesen family celebrates as Dane seals Ras Al Khaimah Championship

The Dubai resident broke several records as he moved up to 57th on the Official World Golf Rankings

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Dubai based Thorbjorn Oleson moves up to 57 in the OWGR following his win in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club. - Supplied photo
Dubai based Thorbjorn Oleson moves up to 57 in the OWGR following his win in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club. - Supplied photo

Published: Tue 30 Jan 2024, 7:13 PM

Dubai resident Thorbjørn Olesen said it was ‘very special’ after he won his eighth DP World Tour title convincingly with a closing 67 at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

The Dane entered the final day four shots clear of Rasmus Højgaard but saw that lead wiped out within seven holes as his countryman made a blistering start.

A stunning eagle and three-shot swing on the next completely changed the complexion of the day, and Olesen eventually eased to a six-shot win at 27 under.

Olesen's total of 261 - which included a course-record equalling 62 on Friday - is the lowest of the season, with his score to par also the lowest of the season by seven strokes.

RAK Champion Thorbjorn Oleson with dignatories and officials at the Prize Presentation at Al Hamra Golf Club. - Supplied photo
RAK Champion Thorbjorn Oleson with dignatories and officials at the Prize Presentation at Al Hamra Golf Club. - Supplied photo

His six-shot winning margin is also the biggest of the season so far and Olesen has now won in three consecutive seasons and seven times out of eight when holding the 54-hole lead.

He moves up to sixth in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex and to 57th on the Official World Golf Ranking, his highest position since June 2019.

“It's very special,” said UAE-based Olesen, whose family were present to see his win. “Standing here with (son) Cooper makes it a little more special.

“It was still a battle out there, it got close and you've got one of the most solid players right behind you so I knew it was going to be tough and we were tied for the lead very quickly.

“I played some nice golf coming in and holed the right putts at the right time,” Olsen added.

“To win was a goal and it was nice to get that here, especially being here at my new home. It's always a place I like to come to, not just for golf but for holidays. It's a great place and I'm really happy that I could get a win here.”

Højgaard signed for a 69 to finish at 21 under, one shot clear of Frenchman Frederic Lacroix, who ended his week with a 68.

Both Olesen and Højgaard birdied the first after beautiful approaches to inside ten feet but Olesen found the waste area down the left off the second tee and needed four blows to get on the green, surrendering a double-bogey and seeing his lead cut to two.

He went left again off the next tee with Højgaard looking at 13 feet for an eagle but Olesen recovered and drained a 36-footer for birdie as Højgaard two-putted.

The 22-year-old did not lose momentum after that setback, however, playing a stunning bunker shot to get up and down on the drivable par-four fifth and sending his tee shot right over the flag at the seventh to join the lead.

It was then a tale of two-second shots on the par-five eighth, as Olesen left himself six feet for eagle and Højgaard hit a shank, with the resulting three-shot swing turning the day on its head.

Olesen led by four after a 25-footer on the tenth and while Højgaard hit back on the par-three 11th with a tee-shot to five feet, he missed a short effort to three-putt the 13th.

Both men got up and down for birdie on the par-five 14th and when Olesen recovered from a ragged tee shot to par the 17th and Højgaard missed a seven-footer for birdie, he took a four-shot lead to the treacherous tee at the par-five last.

Daniel Gavins made a double-bogey on the 72nd hole last season en route to victory but there was no such drama this time around as Olesen got up and down from the sand for a birdie, while Højgaard dropped a shot after finding the water.

Lacroix is back on the DP World Tour after a second graduation from the European Challenge Tour last season and secured his best result to date, carding six birdies and two bogeys in round four.

German duo Maximilian Kieffer and Yannik Paul, Japan's Keita Nakajima, Englishman Callum Shinkwin and South African Brandon Stone finished the week ten shots off the lead.

The leading UAE player was Joshua Grenville-Wood (UAE) in tied ninth place on 16 under par with rounds of 67, 68, 68 and 69.

Results

(7,410 Yards, Par 72).

T. Oleson (Den) 69. 62. 63. 67. 261.

R. Hojgaard (Den) 66. 64. 68. 69. 267.

F. Lacroix (Fr) 65. 69. 66. 68. 26

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