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Olesen closes in on leader Sterne

South African under threat as wind slows scoring at Emirates Golf Club

Image Credit: Virendra Saklanai/Gulf News
Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark plays a shot on the second day of the Omega Dubai DesertClassic at Emirates Golf Club yesterday.
Gulf News

Dubai: Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen is looking to go one better than his joint second place at the recent HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship after creeping to within a shot of the lead on day two of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Friday.

South Africa’s Richard Sterne still leads despite gaining just two shots on Friday following his ten under par start on Thursday, with blustery conditions at Emirates Golf Club seeing the leaderboard bunch and stagnate.

But Olesen is creeping up on Sterne along with England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who are all at 11 under par.

The 23-year-old Dane added to his opening five birdie round with another unblemished six birdies on day two to take him up from tied for 12th on the leaderboard.

Gallacher, who was second after day one on nine under, only made up two shots in the wind, while Fleetwood, who was tied for third, made up four to continue his bid for victory.

Olesen, who got his first and only European Tour victory at the Sicilian Open in Italy last April but came agonisingly close to adding another in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, said: “I’m hungry for more wins. I want to win twice this season. That’s my main goal. So the quicker I can get the first one, the better.” Of his 31st-place finish at the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa and a tie for 22nd in the Qatar Masters last month, Olesen added: “I’ve played really nicely recently and it’s been a great three tournaments for me. Hopefully I can finish this one off.

“The more times I’m up there the better chance I have of a win, so my chances should be better this week after the first two. I’m looking forward to the weekend and I enjoy being up there.”

Olesen said of his clean form, which has seen him yet to bogey at this event: “One of the keys is definitely that my iron play has been so good and I’ve hit a lot of greens and that makes it easy not to make bogeys.”

Meanwhile Sterne, who maintains his lead from day one thanks to a second day’s 70 with bogeys on either nine and four birdies, said: “The course was a lot tougher today with the wind and the greens definitely firmed out a bit. “I think it’s going to be quite tricky coming to the weekend. There’s a lot of guys bunched up and you’re going to have to play pretty well on the weekend to be there on Sunday.

“There’s still a long way to go in this tournament. The guys are bunched and there’s some good players and I think anyone five or six back has still got a good chance of winning.”