Thorbjorn Olesen grinds to keep Ryder Cup fate in his own hands

Dane made the cut on the mark with Pepperell and Fitzpatrick still in the hunt

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark plays his seond shot on the 17th hole during the Made in Denmark. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark plays his seond shot on the 17th hole during the Made in Denmark. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout claimed the halfway lead in the Made in Denmark event as local favourite Thorbjorn Olesen narrowly kept his Ryder Cup destiny in his own hands.

Bezuidenhout added a 65 to his opening 66 for a halfway total of 13 under par, two shots ahead of first-round leader Jonathan Thomson and Lee Westwood, with another Englishman Sam Horsfield another stroke adrift.

Olesen occupies the final automatic Ryder Cup qualifying place and can make certain of a debut with a top-six finish, but had to par the final three holes of his second round of 69 simply to make the cut on the mark of two under par.

England’s Eddie Pepperell (69) and Matt Fitzpatrick (68) need to win the event to have a chance of dislodging Olesen and head into the weekend eight and nine shots off the lead respectively.

“I actually feel really comfortable with my swing and my set up, I just seem to lose it just a little bit with the driver and the same with the irons,” Olesen told Sky Sports after a 69 compiled alongside Ryder Cup vice-captain Westwood and wild card contender Thomas Pieters.

“I feel like I’m very close to playing good but I’m just missing the little piece. The first three or four holes [on Thursday] there was a little bit too much going on in my mind but today the whole way round I felt comfortable and I feel like I am really close to shooting a good number and start playing well like I’ve done the last three months.”

Westwood laughed off his chances of earning a surprise wild card by winning at Silkeborg on Sunday, but the 45-year-old had some advice for his playing partners over the first two days

“I don’t think they should be worrying too much about the Ryder Cup, they should be concentrating on the Made in Denmark tournament and trying to do as good as they can in that, then that reflects on the other,” Westwood said after a bogey-free 65.

“You can only focus on the job in hand that’s controllable and that’s to stand on the first tee tomorrow and hit it straight and close to the flag. Then see what happens over the weekend from there and then see what happens when we sit down early next week.”

European captain Thomas Bjorn will name his four wild cards on Wednesday and Pieters is certain to be part of the discussion along with the likes of Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Pieters, who was handed a wild card in 2016 after winning in Denmark and claimed a record four points in the defeat at Hazeltine, is six shots off the lead after a second round of 68.

“I thought I played really well today, I just could not get the ball in the hole,” the 26-year-old Belgian said. “Although I shot 68 I felt like I had way many more chances. Even on TV you can see that the greens are pretty rough but you’ve got to put a good stroke on it and hope it goes in.”

Collated second round scores & totals in the Made In Denmark, Silkeborg Ry GC, Denmark (Britain unless stated, no Irish competitors, par 72):

(a) denotes amateurs

131 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 66 65

133 Jonathan Thomson 64 69, Lee Westwood 68 65

134 Sam Horsfield 67 67

135 Matthew Baldwin 66 69, Thomas Detry (Bel) 67 68

136 Matt Wallace 68 68, Hunter Stewart (USA) 66 70

137 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 66 71, Nicolai Tinning (Den) 69 68, Callum Shinkwin 71 66, Brett Rumford (Aus) 66 71, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 68 69, Robert Rock 67 70, Chris Hanson 70 67, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 69 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 67 70, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 70 67, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 71 66, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 68

138 Steven Brown 70 68, Richard McEvoy 67 71, Ashun Wu (Chn) 70 68, Pep Angles (Spa) 72 66, Matthew Southgate 68 70, Paul Peterson (USA) 71 67, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 67 71, Tom Lewis 70 68, David Drysdale 68 70, Ryan Evans 67 71

139 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 73 66, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 69, Ashley Chesters 69 70, Eddie Pepperell 70 69, Josh Geary (Nzl) 66 73, Bradley Dredge 71 68

140 Richard Bland 72 68, Richie Ramsay 69 71, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 68 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 68 72, Aksel Olsen (Nor) 72 68, Scott Fernandez (Spa) 67 73, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 69, Justin Walters (Rsa) 70 70, Jordan Smith 70 70, Pedro Oriol (Spa) 68 72, Matthew Fitzpatrick 72 68

141 Matthew Millar (Aus) 72 69, Stephen Gallacher 72 69, Frederik Dreier (Den) 72 69, Jamie Donaldson 67 74, David Horsey 73 68, Gary Stal (Fra) 74 67, Nick Cullen (Aus) 70 71

142 Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 71 71, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 68 74, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 72 70, Oliver Fisher 71 71, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 72 70, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 71 71, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 74 68, Pontus Widegren (Swe) 69 73, Charlie Ford 72 70, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 70 72, Matthew Nixon 73 69, Niklas Norgaard Moller (Den) 69 73, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 71 71, Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 73 69, James Morrison 69 73, Romain Wattel (Fra) 73 69, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 73 69, Oliver Farr 75 67, Scott Vincent (Zim) 69 73

The following players did not make the cut:

143 Lasse Jensen (Den) 71 72, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 74 69, Matias Calderon (Chi) 71 72, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 72 71, Laurie Canter 71 72, Chase Koepka (USA) 70 73, Adam Bland (Aus) 71 72, Marc Warren 70 73, Jeff Winther (Den) 73 70, Nicolai Hojgaard (a) (Den) 69 74, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 72 71, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 72, Christofer Blomstrand (Swe) 72 71, Mark Tullo (Chi) 72 71, Daniel Brooks 72 71, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 71 72

144 Marcus Armitage 73 71, Danny Willett 69 75, Doug Ghim (USA) 73 71, Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) 75 69, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 73 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 73, Simon Khan 73 71, Jason Norris (Aus) 68 76, Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 72 72, Marcel Siem (Ger) 74 70, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 75 69, Sebastien Gros (Fra) 74 70, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 73 71, Gregory Havret (Fra) 69 75, Danthai Boonma (Tha) 75 69

145 Peter Hanson (Swe) 72 73, Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 76 69, Steve Webster 72 73, Clement Sordet (Fra) 74 71, David Howell 76 69, David Lipsky (USA) 72 73, Austin Connelly (Can) 72 73, Henric Sturehed (Swe) 70 75

146 S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 74 72, Anders Hansen (Den) 73 73, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 71 75, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 75 71, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 73 73, Rasmus Hojgaard (a) (Den) 75 71, Soomin Lee (Kor) 76 70

147 John Daly (USA) 76 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 74 73, Daniel Im (USA) 75 72, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 74 73, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 76 71, Morten Orum Madsen (Den) 76 71, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 73 74, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 75 72

148 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 72 76, Thomas Norret (Den) 73 75, Sam Brazel (Aus) 72 76, Gavin Green (Mal) 74 74, Jack Munro (Aus) 79 69, Lee Slattery 76 72

149 Richard Green (Aus) 74 75, Andrew Dodt (Aus) 79 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73 76, Florian Fritsch (Ger) 77 72

150 Mark Foster 76 74

151 Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 74 77, Connor Syme 77 74, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 78 73

154 Scott Hend (Aus) 79 75, Jacob Glennemo (Swe) 76 78

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