Closing birdie gives Thorbjorn Olesen share of 1st-round lead at PGA

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Closing birdie gives Thorbjorn Olesen share of 1st-round lead at PGA

PGA Tour

Closing birdie gives Thorbjorn Olesen share of 1st-round lead at PGA

CHARLOTTE – What a way to close, Thorbjorn Olesen.

The 27-year-old Dane, whose first name is actually Jacob, made six birdies as part of an opening 4-under 67 Thursday at the 99th PGA Championship. None was more impressive, though, than his 27-footer at Quail Hollow’s tough par-4 18th hole.

“Obviously it was a nice way to finish with a very long putt there on 18,” Olesen said.

Ya think? Olesen’s 67 set the pace early on a blistering day in Charlotte. A week after closing the WGC-Bridgestone with rounds of 67-65 and tying for 10th, Olesen kept the momentum going, especially with his driver.

“To be honest it was just the driving the first two days (at Firestone) that got me in trouble,” Olesen said. “I just found something in my driver on the weekend and I was able to start to go at the pins and making some birdies at Firestone. That definitely gave me a lot of confidence.”

With Quail Hollow listed at 7,600 yards and playing longer likely all week because of rain, the driver will continue to be crucial for Olesen if he wants to contend for his first major title. He has two top 10s in 13 career major starts.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years playing quite a few majors now,” Olesen said. “I feel like I’m better prepared to be in contention over the weekend and have a chance to win. I feel more confident with myself and my game than I probably did a few years ago.

“So obviously a lot of things can happen. I just have to stay relaxed the next few days.”

Easier said than done, but a few more birdies on No. 18 won’t hurt.

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