“Definitely at the beginning I was probably a bit more anxious about maybe making the cut because this is a very big tournament, especially for me with the money that can be won and the position that I’m in”, Fritsch said.
“I remember that night”. We all talked a lot of s***. In this pendulous pursuit, where you’re only one good week away from turning an entire season around, Olesen’s fortunes, both professional and financially, improved dramatically.
Olesen took a three-shot lead into the final round, but followed a birdie on the first with a double bogey on the second and another dropped shot on the third.
The 25-year-old lost a play-off to George Coetzee in Mauritius in his first tournament back but has made the cut in just three of his 13 strokeplay events since, while also losing in the first round of the Paul Lawrie Match Play in Aberdeen.
However, after taking a three-shot lead into the final round at St Andrews, Olesen posted a final-round one-under-par 71 – his worst of the weekend – to finish on 18 under par for the tournament, two shots clear of American duo Brooks Koepka and Chris Stroud.
He responded immediately with birdies at the fourth and fifth, and never looked back as he avenged his runner-up spot at the pro-am event three years ago. “It’s just nice to get it over a done with here”.
That takes a few going, to overshoot the widest fairway in golf – measuring in at 149 yards wide – but it didn’t stop Olesen from closing out his third, and arguably most precious, European Tour victory to rocket him 99 places up the Race To Dubai rankings to 25th.
Meanwhile, David Horsey had a 59 in his sights after an eagle on the third – his 12th – at Kingsbarns got him to nine under for the round, but the Englishman blotted his card at the next and had to settle for a 64 – 10 under for the week.
The Scot made a miraculous recovery just eight days after hobbling around on crutches with a torn calf muscle.
But he admits at the start of the week he feared he was destined for a nerve-shredding return to Qualifying School, until former British Lions rugby physio Stuart Barton urged him to strengthen the leg by taking daily walks in the sea. “It was one of my goals to win before the season was through, and I’m very happy to have done that”, he added. “I had an incredible time”. “I’m relieved to feel much closer to keeping my card now”.