Olesen fends off challenge from Wood to seal first European Tour title in Sicily
17:17 GMT, 1 April 2012
Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen claimed his maiden European Tour title, holding off a strong late challenge from Chris Wood at the Sicilian Open.
Wood equalled the course record with a brilliant eight-under-par 64 in perfect conditions at the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort to charge into contention, but overnight leader Olesen held his nerve to post a 69 and win by one shot on 15 under.
The 22-year-old Dane told www.europeantour.com: 'It feels amazing. I had three seconds last year, so to finally get my first win is great.
All smile: Olesen soaks up the plaudits after landing his first European title
'I've been playing some great golf this year, without all parts of my game coming together. But this week my long and short game both came together, and it feels fantastic to finally get over the line.
'I saw he (Wood) was doing well when I arrived at the ninth, so I knew I had to go for it and make birdies, so it kind of made up my mind for me that I had to play attacking golf.
'I was definitely a bit nervous. I was just trying to focus on one shot at a time, but that's very difficult to do because your mind keeps thinking of other things. But I'm really happy to finish with a par on 18, because it's a really tough golf hole. So when I found the green with my second shot, I was very happy.'
Soaking up the sun: Olesen held his nerve after heading into the final day with a slender lead
Olesen had a mixed opening, carding two bogeys and two birdies over his first five holes. He had started the day with a three-shot advantage but soon found himself pegged back today as Wood joined him on 14 under.
The 24-year-old from Bristol, himself seeking his first Tour crown after five previous top-three finishes, was five under through five after birdies on the second, third and fifth holes and an eagle on four, and had advanced to eight under for the day to earn a share of the lead with six holes remaining.
He picked up another shot with a further birdie on 14 but blotted his copybook with a bogey on the par-five 17th, which ultimately proved costly.
Great Dane: Olesen was pushed hard by Woods who equalled the course record score
Olesen dropped a shot on 13 but got straight back on track with a birdie on 14 and then got over the line by parring the last four holes. Wood was nevertheless delighted with his day's work.
'It's been coming for a while,' he said. 'I've been playing really well lately and not getting the scores.
'It's nice to play well and give myself a chance. I put it in the worst possible position off the tee on 17, but didn't play a bad shot into the green – just didn't get any spin.
'The 18th was a tough hole, so I was pleased with a par to close. Unfortunately it wasn't enough in the end, but I gave it my best shot and that's all you can do.'
Olesen's compatriot Soren Kjeldsen (68) and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts (69) finished tied for third with Spain's Jose Manuel Lara (68) a further stroke back in fifth despite three bogeys on his back nine.