Olesen ready to defend Italian crown in Rome
Cape Town - Thorbjorn Olesen will defend the Rolex Series title which launched his incredible 2018 season when he tees it up for the Italian Open in Rome, from October 10-13.
The Dane joins his Ryder Cup team-mate and Open champion Francesco Molinari at Olgiata Golf Club - a new venue for the fifth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai - as he looks to add a sixth European Tour title to his name.
Olesen memorably won the 2018 Italian Open by one shot after a thrilling final round battle with home favourite Molinari and Englishman Lee Slattery. Needing a par at the last after Molinari sent the crowd wild with a birdie from 30 feet, the 29-year-old made an excellent up and down from a greenside bunker to claim the biggest win of his career to date.
The victory at Gardagolf catapulted Olesen into contention for a place in Europe's 2018 Ryder Cup team and the Dane delivered, sealing his spot at the Made in Demark - his home tournament and the final week of qualification for Team Europe - before going on to make his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National and winning his singles match in impressive fashion by beating Jordan Spieth 5&4.
"It's the biggest event I have won in my career so far," said Olesen. "It was huge and it came at such an important point in my season to really kickstart the year."
"Before that week in Italy, I was way off being in the Ryder Cup team and then all of a sudden, I win a Rolex Series event and I'm right in it. It was a great confidence booster for me and from then on, I played really well until the Ryder Cup.
"It was a really special moment at the end. I've never had that putt on 18 where I've had to make it to win, so to experience that and from then on to know you can hole a ten or 12 footer on the last to win a big event, it gives you that extra edge.
"Winning the Italian Open was a game changer for me. It gave me so much confidence going into the Ryder Cup knowing that I could hole those putts, under pressure and on the biggest stage, so a lot of great things happened for me that week. Hopefully we can repeat all of that again later on this year in Rome."
Race to Dubai Champion and world No 6 Molinari will also be part of the world class field at Olgiata Golf Club in October, with further names to be added over the coming weeks.