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Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Thunderbear can thrill home crowd with title charge

Danish dude well in the Himmerland hunt

Thorbjorn Olesen won the GolfSixes for Denmark in May
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Story so far

David Horsey, the 2015 champion, has given himself a great opportunity of a second Made In Denmark title – the Englishman firing a third-round 64 to go two shots clear at the top of the leaderboard.

Ladbrokes offered a stand-out 40-1 about Horsey at the start of the week and punters who availed themselves of that price will be in high spirits. The leader is no bigger than 2-1 with 18 holes to play at the Himmerland Club.

Improving American Julian Suri is alone in second place, while another Yank raider has made a mockery of his pre-tournament 500-1 quote by moving into a share of third spot. John Daly, who performed at the Made In Denmark Festival on Thursday, has impressed with his golf clubs as well as his guitar.

Thomas Pieters suffered a quadruple-bogey eight at the sixth hole on Thursday and went on to miss the cut. The leading Dane is Thorbjorn Olesen, who is lurking dangerously at ten under par, four shots behind Horsey.

Leaderboard

-14 David Horsey
-12 Julian Suri
-11 Robert Rock, Chris Paisley, Gregory Havret, John Daly
-10 Steve Webster, Matt Wallace, Wade Ormsby, Thorbjorn Olesen, Aaron Rai
-9 Benjamin Hebert
-8 Paul Dunne, Marc Warren, Nacho Elvira, Lasse Jensen, Oscar Lengden, Haydn Porteous, Thomas Detry, Ben Evans

Best prices

2 D Horsey, 6 J Suri, 17-2 T Olesen, 12 R Rock, 14 C Paisley, 16 G Havret, 20 A Rai, J Daly, 25 W Ormsby, M Wallace, 33 B Hebert, 40 S Webster, 50 P Dunne, 55 T Detry, 80 N Elvira, 100 bar

Final-round advice

David Horsey is clearly comfortable at the Himmerland Club and the 32-year-old Stockport man is a four-time European Tour champion.

All Horsey's victories have been in fairly low-key tournaments, though, and he is the world number 132. His course credentials aside – and it must be noted he missed the cut by nine shots in his title defence last year – Horsey is not a player punters should be rushing to back at just 2-1.

The leader is likely to plod along on Sunday, finding fairways and holing the odd putt, but there is definitely scope for the short-hitting grinder to tread water around his current score of 14 under par. More dynamic operators in the chasing pack will be sensing an opportunity.

Julian Suri has a significant power advantage over Horsey in the final pairing, but the giant American was disappointing when in contention for the European Open title last time out, carding a final-round 74 to drop to 16th place.

The inexperienced Suri may need to taste the tension of a few more Sunday shootouts before he is ready to make his European Tour breakthrough. He won on the Challenge Tour in May and looks good enough to triumph in the higher grade at some stage, but his putting stroke needs work.

There are nine players at 11 or ten under par, tucked in just behind Horsey and Suri, and two English maidens – Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai – can have high hopes of threatening a breakthrough. Paisley and Rai can go close, but the man most likely to take advantage of any faltering from Horsey and Suri is local hero Thorbjorn Olesen.

Thunderbear, as Olesen is known by his peers, is notoriously clinical when in contention. The heat of a Sunday battle has never frightened this cool dude and he will be relishing the chance of serving up a final-round treat for his compatriots in the gallery.

Olesen appears the only possible Danish champion, which some might see as extra pressure, but golf history is littered with examples of players raising their game on home turf. Last season there were six home winners of national Opens – Brandon Stone, SSP Chawrasia, Haotong Li, Rory McIlroy, Joost Luiten and Francesco Molinari.

Olesen has won four times on the European Tour, the last victory being a prestigious Final Series event, the Turkish Airlines Open. His lone Challenge Tour success came in neighbouring Sweden and now he can gain the ultimate thrill in his homeland. The noisy galleries will do all they can to assist their man should he create a back-nine title chance. Only John Daly can hope for anything close to the same level of support.

Olesen has been playing consistently well this season, finishing third in the French Open, fourth in the Nordea Masters, eighth in the Shenzhen International and tenth in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he has putted particularly well of late.

Four shots is obviously not a straightforward deficit to overcome, but easily within his capabilities. With expected overnight and Sunday morning rain softening the track, and hardly any breeze forecast for round four, attacking players like Olesen are favoured. Birdies should be plentiful.

Olesen, a Racing Post Sport ante-post selection at 16-1, looks the best outright option at this stage. The final-round twoball card has thrown up nothing in the way of value. An outright press-up on Olesen is the preferred course of action. The final pairing of Horsey and Suri is scheduled on the tee at 11.30am UK and Ireland time.

Outright recommendation
T Olesen
1pt 17-2 general

The noisy galleries will do all they can to assist their man
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