Golf Australia

Danes break Aussie title grip

Denmark captain Torben Henriksen Nyehuus, John Axelsen, Nicolai Hojgaard, and Rasmus Hojgaard party with the Eisenhower Trophy. Picture: USGA

Denmark officially stamped itself as a legitimate golfing force today, adding the World Amateur Team title to its World Cup professional crown.

Australia, powered by another great round by Min Woo Lee, was one of many nations who made a last-day run at the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House, Ireland.

But just as their countrymen Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen did in the World Cup at Kingston Heath in 2016, the young Danes were exemplary when it mattered most and birdied their way to a first amateur team crown in style.

The Aussies, who entered the day 12 behind overnight leader New Zealand, needed two low rounds and some help from above as the leading teams ventured out on to the scoring-friendly, par-73 O’Meara Course.

Having started on the 10th, the Aussies couldn’t quite muster momentum on the back nine, but then caught fire when they turned to the first.

Perth’s Lee poured in five front-nine birdies – of his incredible tally of 26 for the week – to charge to a 68 and a -16 total that left him in a more-than-creditable share of sixth on the individual leaderboard.

Sunshine Coaster Wools-Cobb, whose stock in trade is a hot putter, simply couldn’t find his normal feel for the greens, but still carved out a respectable 70 to provide Australia’s second counting score of the day and a T51 individual finish at -7.

Melbourne’s David Micheluzzi, Australia’s anchor on day one, couldn’t regain that same momentum and carded a one-under 72 for a T62 finish at four under.

But the 26-under team total was never going to be enough as Spain, Denmark and the United States reeled in New Zealand to share the lead at 34 under heading to the final nine holes.

After teammate John Axelsen set up the week for Denmark with his spectacular 64-69 opening, identical twins Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard brought it home for Denmark with some stunning clutch golf as the USA charged primarily through the agency of white-hot Cole Hammer (66) to reach 38 under.

Rasmus had seven birdies, including two on the final three holes, as Nicolai went one better with eight, including five on the back nine and three in the closing four holes to enable the Danes to reach 39 under.

“I feel wonderful …  this is a dream come true for all of us,” Nicolai said.

“I had a tough start to this tournament, so I was just trying to play some good rounds to help the team. I did that the last two rounds so this is perfect. This is the biggest team event we could have won and to do it with Rasmus is perfect. But, also with John, John is a great friend and we are all having fun. This is just wonderful.”

Spain’s Alejandro Del Rey edged Japanese prodigy Takumi Kanaya for the individual title at 23 under par for the week.


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