Number Crunching 2012: Thorbjorn Olesen

Thorbjorn Olesen waits on the first hole during the third round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.

Who climbed and who dropped in 2012? Through Dec. 31, Golfweek.com takes a look at players who made significant moves up or down in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index this year.

• • •

Thorbjorn Olesen

Ranking/movement: +547 (No. 603 to No. 56)

Why the rise? An improved putting setup and better game management.

It’s never easy to follow up an outstanding rookie debut with an even better season, but Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen has done it, rising a 2012-best 547 spots and into the top 60 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Many thought Olesen should have been the European Tour’s 2011 Rookie of the Year. He narrowly missed out on that honor, which instead went to England’s Tom Lewis. However, while Lewis has endured a mediocre 2012 season, Olesen has improved.

The Dane celebrated his first tour victory at the Sicilian Open in early April. He posted five more top-10 finishes, including a T-9 at the Open Championship and a runner-up at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The biggest reason for Oleson’s rise? He was exactly one putt better per round

in 2012, averaging 29.39 putts per round compared with 30.39 in 2011, a big key in lowering his scoring average by almost 1.3 strokes (71.84 in 2011 to 70.55).

“I have worked hard on (my putting),” Olesen said. “Technically, not much has changed. It’s mostly in the setup. I’ve worked on getting everything more square to the target.”

Other factors: He was up in fairways hit (52.6 percent to 56.38 percent), greens in regulation (68.31 percent to 71.23 percent) and sand saves (53.33 percent to 60.66 percent).

Olesen says: “It highlights how much more consistent I am. Last year, I had more missed cuts than I would have liked, so that had to change, and it has. I’m proud of that. I just manage my game a lot better now.”

– Alistair Tait

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification