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British Masters

Olesen’s spectacular finish clinches first win since court case turmoil

Thorbjorn Olesen wondered if he'd ever tee up at the highest level again, let alone win. George Cooper wraps up a fascinating final day from the British Masters
 

After fearing he may never play competitive golf again, Thorbjorn Olesen produced a dramatic eagle-birdie finish to win the British Masters and secure his first victory since being cleared of a sexual assault charge.

Olesen holed two monster putts on 17 and 18 to produce a spectacular eagle-birdie finish and win the British Masters by one shot over Sebastian Soderberg at The Belfry.

The win was the Dane’s first victory since he was cleared of sexually assaulting a woman on a commercial flight back to London in 2019. Olesen had been suspended by the European Tour following the incident but was reinstated last July after a delay in court proceedings due to the pandemic.

At the trial in December, Olesen admitted he had no memory of the incident as a result of mixing alcohol and sleeping tablets. The former Ryder Cup star was eventually acquitted following the three-day trial.

“Sometimes you [think] that you’re never going to win again, or even play again,” admitted a choked up Olesen as he spoke to the media following the trophy presentation.

“It’s been a long time since I won, and I knew how hard it was going to be.”

Having not won a Tour event since the Italian Open in June 2018, Olesen came into the British Masters as World Number 376. But some terrific golf over the first three rounds saw Olesen enter Sunday with a three-shot lead.

However, nerves clearly got to the Dane as he snap hooked his opening tee shot to open with a tetchy bogey. It then seemed Olesen’s fairytale victory was going to have to wait, as he slumped to 4-over for the day and two shots behind clubhouse leader Soderberg with two holes to play.

Then, the most dramatic of finishes.

First, Olesen rekindled his 2016 form by draining a spectacular 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th to draw level with the Swede.

Then he inexplicably followed up at the last with a 36-foot birdie putt to pip his rival and claim a momentous victory.

A clearly emotional Olesen was met by his wife Lauren and one-year old son Cooper on the 18th green, of which he dedicated the victory to after the trophy ceremony.

“Luckily I’ve had some great people around me. Especially Lauren. It’s been some really tough times and that’s why this one feels really special to me,” Olesen said.

“I will definitely never forget this. Finishing like this is going to be with me for the rest of my life.”

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