Odd couple off to US Open

Thørbjorn Olesen joined by rookie 230 ranking places below him who is two years his senior

Just 44 minutes after Denmark’s brightest ever golfing prospect, 23-year-old Thørbjorn Olesen, tees off on Thursday in the second major of the season, the US Open at the Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, the world number 35 will be joined in the competition by another Dane 230 places behind him in the rankings.

Morten Orum Madsen, two years Olesen’s senior, is the world number 265, his country’s fifth highest ranked player behind Olesen, Thomas Bjørn (87), Anders Hansen (93) and Søren Kjeldsen (218). And in late May, he dug deep to finish fourth in the European qualifying tournament at Walton Heath  in Surrey, England, shooting -5 over two days to qualify with 12 other fellow Europeans from a field of 95.  

Madsen is a name to watch out for, although not quite in Olesen’s league yet, both metaphorically and literally. He is currently second in the Challenge Tour rankings, the second tier of men’s pro golf in Europe from which the top 20 every year win promotion to the European tour. Madsen will be hoping to emulate Bjørn, a fellow member of Silkeborg GK, who won the Challenge Tour in 1995. A late starter in the game – initially hooked on football, he didn’t seriously try the sport until he was 12 – he will fancy springing a surprise in the US this week – a country where he studied and represented Oregon State University.

Olesen, meanwhile, hasn’t played well since impressing at April’s US Masters where he finished sixth equal despite shooting an opening round 78. But despite quick exits at the World Matchplay and the Players Championship, he remains eighth in the Race to Dubai. 

His coach Lars Nysøe is confident he can put his poor form behind him and thinks it might have something to do with Augusta. “Several players have before spoken about how it drains you mentally – how it can be difficult to leave the place behind once you leave,” he told Jyllands Posten. “Particularly if you have not been before.” 





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