Posted: 1 April 2012
by Golfmagic Tour
Thorbjørn Olesen breathed a sigh of relief as he overcame a rampant Chris Wood to claim his maiden European Tour title at the Sicilian Open.
The 22-year-old Dane, who finished runner-up three times in 2011, held his nerve with a round of 69 for a narrow one-shot victory over Wood - who tied the Verdura Golf Resort & Spa course record of 64.
“It feels amazing,” said Olesen, who becomes the youngest European Tour champion of the season at 22 years and 102 days.
“I had three seconds last year, so to finally get my first win is great.
“I've been playing some great golf this year, without all parts of my game coming together. But this week my long and short game both came together, and it feels fantastic to finally get over the line.”
Heading into the final round with a three-shot lead, the young Dane saw his advantage eroded entirely before he even teed off by the prolific Wood, as the two engaged in a shootout for much of Sunday afternoon.
But despite carding seven birdies and an eagle in his opening 16 holes, Wood chose the worst time to make bogey after failing to get up-and-down from the back of 17 - a bogey that proved decisive.
Olesen made a miraculous birdie on the par-5 14th after finding deep rough to the left of the green before finishing with four consecutive pars to seal victory.
“I saw Wood was doing well when I arrived at the ninth, so I knew I had to go for it and make birdies, so it kind of made up my mind for me that I had to play attacking golf.
“I was definitely a bit nervous. I was just trying to focus on one shot at a time, but that’s very difficult to do because your mind keeps thinking of other things.
“But I’m really happy to finish with a par on 18, because it’s a really tough golf hole. So when I found the green with my second shot, I was very happy.”
Wood, who has now recorded six top-three finishes on the European Tour without a win, was rightly delighted with his performance after matching Peter Lawrie’s course record from the opening round.
“It’s been coming for a while,” said the giant Englishman. “I’ve been playing really well lately and not getting the scores.
“It’s nice to play well and give myself a chance. I put it in the worst possible position off the tee on 17, but didn’t play a bad shot into the green – just didn’t get any spin.
“I gave it my best shot and that’s all you can do.”
Dane Søren Kjeldsen and big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts finished three shots off the pace in a tie for third.
Former major champions Rich Beem and John Daly were among a number of players in an eight-way tie for 11th at 8-under, which also included rising Englishman Tom Lewis.
Sicilian Open Final Leaderboard
-15 Thorbjørn Olesen (Den)
-14 Chris Wood (Eng)
-12 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Søren Kjeldsen (Den)
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