Sports Round-Up: Denmark’s miraculous golfing twins make European tour history with back-to-back victories

Holger Rune and Clara Tauson aren’t related, but their performances at the US Open suggest the 18-year-old Danish tennis players have bright futures

Danish golfing twins Rasmus and Nicolai Højgaard, 20, have made history over the last eight days.

A brilliant back nine
First off, Rasmus won the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on August 29 – his third European Tour victory since turning professional.

He started the final day in 15th place, but played holes 13-15 in four under par on his way to a splendid round of 63 to climb to second place on the leaderboard.

A final hole birdie put pressure on Austrian leader Rasmus Højgaard, who subsequently scored a double-bogey at the 18th after finding water.

Praise from one of Europe’s finest
And then a week later, Nicolai won the
DS Automobiles Italian Open – his first European Tour win and the first time twins have ever won back-to-back tournaments on the tour.

Like his brother, Nicolai held his nerve to sink a final-hole birdie to win a shot clear of England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Poland’s Adrian Meronk.

“Fair play to Nicolai,” Fleetwood, an established world star, told the BBC. “There’s obviously something very special happening with these brothers and that’s going to be exciting in the future.”

Hjalte still in contention for NFL start despite demotion
Within a day of being let go by the 53-player Houston Texans main squad last week, Hjalte Froholdt, 25, was rehired by the NFL side’s 16-man practice squad. This means the Dane might be eligible to play in games should injuries permit it. It is standard procedure for NFL sides to formally let players go when they cut their main squads down from 80 to 53 ahead of the start of the season, only to re-enlist them for their practice squads. Froholdt was picked up by the New England Patriots in the 2019 draft, but did not make his debut until 2020 due to injury. He then played eight games before being released in November. The NFL season starts on September 10.

Danish teens make big moves abroad
Two of Danish football’s most promising teenage attacking prospects have moved abroad. Danish under-21 star Wahid Faghirs, whose value was boosted by some impressive performances in the European Under-21 Euros, has joined Bundesliga club Stuttgart on a five-year contract. Still just 18, the Vejle striker scored eight goals in 33 appearances in the Superliga. And 19-year-old forward Mohamed Daramy, who made his debut for the Danish national team on September 1, has left FC Copenhagen to join Ajax for a fee rumoured to be 90 million kroner. He scored 18 goals in 93 games for FCK. In other transfer news, FC Midtjylland winger Anders Dreyer has moved to Rubin Kazan for a fee reported to be 55 million kroner.

‘Future star’ announces his arrival with IKEA bag slung over his shoulder
Holger Rune’s standing in real tennis has risen a few notches thanks to his appearance at the US Open – the 18-year-old’s grand slam debut. Not only did he manage to take a set off world number one Novak Djokovic in his opening round 1-6, 7-6, 2-6, 1-6 defeat, but he also grabbed plenty of headlines by turning up to the match with his kit in an IKEA bag. Belgian superstar Kim Clijsters was among those to applaud the young Dane, remarking on Twitter: “Rune rocks the IKEA bag on the centre court.” Another writer said it was the “most New York-like thing ever seen at the US Open” and another observed it as “iconic Nordic behaviour”. Following his victory, during which Rune cramped up several times, Djokovic hailed the Dane as a “future star”. 

Mats Wilander uncomplimentary about Clara Tauson following US Open exit
Clara Tauson can blame an unfortunate draw for bowing out of the ongoing US Open in the second round, where she lost 1-6, 5-7 to Ashleigh Barty, but TV pundit Mats Wilander believes she could have done more to bring the battle to the Australian top seed. The Swede, a multiple grand slam champion in the 1980s, said the 18-year-old could improve her attitude. Instead of throwing her racket in frustration, he’d prefer to hear her shout away her frustration. “I do not understand when players vent their frustration under their breath – and in their own language. Use the English language – and shout it so loud that Barty can hear it,” he said on Eurosport.

Cyclist honoured with Combativity Award following three stage wins
Magnus Cort won the Combativity Award in this year’s Vuelta a España, which concluded on September 5 with an overall victory for Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic. Cort won three times in the World Tour event – Stages 6, 12 and 19 – the most of any cyclist. And he nearly made it number four in the final stage, a time trial won by Roglic, with the Dane just 14 seconds adrift in second.

Denmark’s changes nearly cost them in the Faroes
Denmark made nine changes to their side ahead of their 2022 World Cup qualifier in the Faroe Islands on Saturday, and it nearly cost them, as their opponents hit the woodwork after 50 minutes. A late goal from Jonas Wind, who had a goal disallowed just before half-time, gave the Danes their fifth win from five, and they now top the group by five points. Wind’s goal came a minute after the islanders had a player red-carded. Should Denmark beat Israel at Parken on Tuesday, they’ll lead the group by at least seven points with just four games remaining. Austria, who many tipped as Denmark’s most likely challengers, lost 5-2 away at Israel on Saturday.

New chair for Danish Handball Association
Danish Handball Association general-secretary Morten Stig Christensen, 62, has replaced Per Bertelsen as chair of the association on a one-year term. He has been charged with modernising the structure of the game in Denmark. Christensen, a former player and TV host, stepped up to the role after pressure was exerted on Bertelsen to resign in early August. The former chair told TV2 that “many of the knives in his back” were not deserved. 

Veteran Danish cyclist eyes new team
Jakob Fuglsang believes he has raced his last race for Astana, the Kazakh team he joined in 2013. On August 30, Fuglsang broke his collarbone and shoulder blade in a crash on the Benelux Tour, and it is not anticipated he will ride again until next year. Pundits expect Fuglsang would prefer a move to one of the smaller World Tour teams such as Quick-Step, Israel Start-Up Nation or Cofidis.

The king of Danish harness racing wins 11th Derby at the age of 71
On Sunday August 29, harness racer Steen Juul won his 11th Dansk Trav Derby at Charlottenlund Racetrack – continuing a remarkable run that started in 1983. Even more remarkably, Juul is 71 years old. The win was Juul’s ninth as trainer. True to his name, Festival Of Speed sped away from his rivals in the home stretch. Only stable-mate Frodo Cash, another horse trained by Juul, managed to keep pace, but nobody could deny Juul his 11th Derby in the trots.