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British Masters: Contrasting finishes leaves Thorbjorn Olesen with a key advantage for the final round

Thorbjorn Olesen leads by three going into the final round.
Thorbjorn Olesen leads by three going into the final round.

The famous final holes at the Belfry had a twist in Saturday’s tale for the Betfred British Masters leaving Thorbjorn Olesen in a surprisingly strong position.

The 31-year-old Dane, seeking a career renaissance after the turmoil of a long court case that almost derailed his life, finished eagle-birdie to split the third round log-jam wide open.

It left him with a three-shot advantage over halfway leader Hurly Long and Marcus Armitage. Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, who did have a two-shot lead at one stage, finished 5-5-5 in complete contrast to Olesen’s finale, and is now four back.

There are another four on seven-under, with another Scot, Connor Syme, tied for ninth one shot further back.

Dane patient in waiting for his big finish

Olesen’s finish came after a struggle of a round, punctuated loudly by holing from 130 feet out for an eagle two at the fifth. That served to keep him in touch, but he was patient in waiting for another spark.

“It was an odd round, I had to stay patient out there,” he said. “I had a look at the leaderboard on 15, I always look.

“I sensed that no one was going really low. Which actually made it easier to stay patient. I knew I was still where I wanted to be.”

Level-par for the day when he stood over his second shot into the long 17th, he hit a five-wood in to two feet for his second eagle of the day.  With the 18th playing short, he holed a twenty foot birdie putt.

“I’m going to be nervous,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this position. I know how hard it is to win out here.

“I feel like I have plenty if experience. I’ve won five times and been close a lot of times and haven’t won.

“I haven’t felt nervous like this for a while. But I’ve always enjoyed that feeling when I get into contention.”

Ramsay slips back after poor ending

Ramsay was disappointed with his finish, missing a short one for par on 16, three-putting the long 17th for par, and taking five after having to lay-up at the last.

He’d led by two at the short 12th when his tee shot caught a branch and fell straight down into the water hazard.

“It wasn’t actually that bad a shot,” he said. “It was going for the bunker and caught the tree and could easily have gone in the bunker but dropped into the water.

“I played really solidly and I don’t think I got the most out of my game. Fifteen was a birdie hole and I didn’t make birdie there.

“I then hit a great pitch on 16 only to see the ball bobble, catch the edge and spin out. I three-putted 17 and bogeyed the last. It feels as though it was the worst I could finish.”

He still feels he can go low on Sunday to catch Olesen, and the fluctuations of the leaderboard suggests there’s going to be many twists to come.

“Maybe it’s the best place to be, just tucked in behind,” added Ramsay. “Thorbjorn’s got all the pressure; he’s got a ton of pressure. We just have to chase him so it’s quite simple for us. But he’s obviously won big tournaments before.

“The way this course ebbs and flows, even if you get off to fast starts you’ve still got to play tough holes. I feel like I’m well equipped to go out and shoot a low number tomorrow.

“I just didn’t putt well the last few holes, it’s as simple as that. Putt a little better and I shoot one-under, that’s an average reflection of the way I played.”

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