Olesen builds Ryder Cup case
Thorbjørn Olesen put forward his case for a first Ryder Cup appearance after his victory at the second Rolex Series event of the season, the Italian Open.
The Dane held off BMW PGA Championship winner Francesco Molinari to secure his fifth European Tour title and moves up to tenth in the Ryder Cup Rankings. Olesen now has 2,121,645 Ryder Cup points, putting him on the cusp of an automatic spot.
Despite Molinari sending the crowd wild with a closing birdie from 30ft, an impressive up and down from the greenside bunker on 18 saw Olesen finish at 22 under par and hold off the home favourite.
Molinari’s runner-up finish sees him jump into pole position in the Ryder Cup Rankings, closely followed by the English duo of Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Rose. Rory McIlroy holds the final spot in the European Points lists, with Olesen now just 34,156 points behind.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello also enjoyed a strong week at the Italian Open finishing in solo fourth position on 18 under par. This boosted the Spaniard into the final qualifying places on the World Points list, where he is joined by Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren. Sergio Garcia slipped out of the automatic spots, due to Cabrera-Bello’s performance.
There were also impressive weeks for Thomas Bjørn’s newly appointed vice captains, with Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood both finishing in a tie for fifth place on 17 under par.
Next week the European Tour heads to Austria for the Shot Clock Masters where more Ryder Cup points will be up for grabs.