Our man looks back at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia, where there was an historic first ever win for 20/1 shots Denmark...
“It looked for a hole or two that it might be a tense finale but the scruffy front-nine galvanised the Danes and they just powered away after the turn with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th.”
After a scintillating 12-under-par 60 in round two, the Danish pairing of Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen were never headed at Kingston Heath and they ended round four as they'd began it - four clear of the field.
It wasn't quite as comfortable as the margin of victory suggests though and after the pair had both bogeyed the par five eighth hole to drop back to level par for the day, defeat for the Danes had been a distinct possibility.
Fortunately for Olesen and Kjeldsen, their closest challengers with a round to go, the USA, were also quite slow out of the blocks. But after the mistakes at eight, the eventual winners were just two clear of the USA and China and a birdie at the ninth for the latter closed the gap to just one. It looked for a hole or two that it might be a tense finale but the scruffy front-nine galvanised the Danes and they just powered away after the turn with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th.
As close as it looked on TV, Olesen certainly sounded afterwards as though they were always in command.
"Our mental strength is keeping calm and playing our own game. I wasn't too worried, I thought the birdies would come on the back nine and they did. We play different games, we don't talk much and just play our shots and that's helpful."
Olesen is a fabulous frontrunner and a ruthless closer who likes to keep an eye on the leaderboards, whereas his more experienced partner would rather not know how he stands so they made for a contrasting pair but they clearly gelled well. Here's what Kjeldsen had to say about their partnership after they'd secured Denmark's first ever win at the World Cup of Golf.
"The psychology (of a team) is really interesting to me. When you get a guy like this, on the back nine you feel you want to die for this guy. I've never felt that before and that team thing is amazing."
The winners were matched at a high of 29.028/1 before the off and they went off at around 21.020/1. As for the in-running market moves, the Americans were matched at a low of 3.9 and the Chinese 5.24/1.
Having written in the preview that the Danish duo of Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen were tempting at around the 20/1 mark and that Victor Dubuisson was in fine fettle for the French, it was obviously a bit disappointing not to have backed the winners, or the runners-up, France, and the result of the Cape Town Open was mildly frustrating too. My sole selection, 33/1 shot Zander Lombard, played better than anyone over the weekend to finish tied for fourth behind 50/1 chance, Jacques Kruyswijk, but his disappointing level-par second round proved too costly.
At this point in the De-brief, I usually take a good look at the week's tournaments for learning points for the future but given we may not go back to the magnificent Kingston Heath anytime soon, I could be wasting my time. For what it's worth, it was definitely very linksy.
Olesen has won the Alfred Dunhill Links and Kjeldsen the Irish Open at the equally magnificent Royal County Down links and that was one of the reasons I had looked so closely at the in-form Danes before the off. If and when we go back to Kingston Heath, and I hope it isn't too long because it was very easy on the eye, look closely at links specialists.
As already touched upon, the contrast between the winning pair was quite noticeable. They differed in terms of playing styles and age and the same can be said of the Chinese pairing of Ashun Wu and Li Haotong and maybe even the Americans, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, who both finished alongside the French in a tie for second. Soren is 15 years older than Thorbjorn and the Chinese and Americans are both separated by ten years.
Team USA will feel disappointed by the way they closed out the event and Walker, in particular, struggled with his game today but the Chinese gelled brilliantly and really enjoyed themselves. It could be merely coincidental but in addition to contrasting playing styles, a significant age difference looks like it may be an angle in in future.
We've got a much busier week to look forward to next week with two events on the European Tour and on the PGA Tour. Paul Krishnamurty will take a look at the Australian PGA Championship and I'll be back with previews for the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and the Hero World Challenge, where Tiger Woods (hopefully) makes his long-awaited comeback.
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