Olesen denies local Molinari to win Italian Open

Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen won a fifth European Tour title with a one-shot victory over local Francesco Molinari at the Italian Open.

Olesen closed with a bogey-free 64 and made four birdies in six holes coming home at the Gardagolf Country Club in Brescia to deny Molinari back-to-back wins at his national open in an impressive display of ball striking. It was Olesen’s first European Tour title since the Turkish Airlines Open in November 2016.

Olesen’s only prior top-10 finish this season came in Australia at the match play-format ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.

“Unbelievable,” said a relieved Olesen after Sunday’s win. “Obviously been a little bit of a tough time for me this year. To come into this Rolex Series and do what I’ve done is amazing, especially to come from behind and win. I haven’t done that in my career, so that was very special.”

WITB: Thorbjorn Olesen

  • Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
  • Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Timeless GSS
  • Driver: TaylorMade 2016 M1 (9.5º)
  • 3-wood: TaylorMade 2016 M2 (15º)
  • 5-Wood: TaylorMade 2016 M2 (18º)
  • 2-iron: TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDi
  • Irons: TaylorMade PSi 4-9 (Project X 6.5)
  • Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (60º)

Olesen carded a closing 64 at Gardagolf to finish 22-under-par to pip the home favourite Molinari, who had won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week.

The two players had been tied for the lead with two holes remaining, but Molinari dropped a shot on the 17th and Olesen birdied the same hole in the group behind to take a two-shot lead heading down the 18th.

A birdie on the last by Molinari kept the pressure on Olsen, yet a par on the last for Olsen after finding trouble off the tee was enough to secure the title.

Olesen then backed up the next morning after winning the Italian Open for US Open Sectional Qualifying at Walton Heath Golf Club in London where he made the number by one to gain his start, along with Australia’s Jason Scrivener, at Shinnecock Hills.

England’s Lee Slattery finished alone in third after a closing 67, with Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello fourth at 18-under with Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Andy Sullivan a shot further back in a tie for fifth.

Scott Hend was the best of the Australians finishing at 15-under-par for a share of 14th position. Scrivener was two further back to finish in a tie for 21st position with Adam Bland another shot back in 23rd position.

Brett Rumford and Wade Ormsby rounded out the Aussies to make the weekend, with Jason Norris, Andrew Dodt, Marcus Frazer and Sam Brazel missing the cut.