Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Lucas Bjereggaard have become the inaugural GolfSixes Champions after their 3-1 victory over Australia in the final at the Centurion Club.
The Danish duo won all three of the remaining holes on their way to becoming the first ever GolfSixes champions in the final of the European Tour’s newest two-day event.
Most of the GolfSixes tournament had a different feel thanks to entrance music, pyrotechnics, celebrities and themed holes – but as Denmark headed up the last with just a 2-1 advantage in the final match of the day, all focus was purely upon golf.
Olesen pushed his approach shot out right, and miraculously avoided tipping in to the greenside water hazard by a mere couple of inches – a fortuitous break that could have so easily cost them the hole and forced a play-off.
As it happened, Bjerregaard was able to produce a world-class chip at just the right moment to put their third within a few feet as Australia’s Scott Hend misjudged his putt from the fringe of the green. Sam Brazel’s much needed birdie-putt slid by the hole, and the Australians conceded to give Denmark their rightful place beside the GolfSixes trophy.
It’s a second team victory in a row for Olesen, who won the World Cup of Golf with Soren Kjeldsen in November 2016 – and for Bjerregaard, a first victory on the European Tour.
"It's been an amazing week," said Bjerregaard. "The fans have been great, it's been great to see how many kids have been out here and hopefully some of them will want to get into golf after this.
"It's been a fun couple of days. I would love to see more of this.”
"Today got a little more serious, a little more down to business, but it's been so much fun, I think the crowds enjoyed it as well."
"It's gone pretty well for me in team events recently," added Olseen. "I was hoping for a win but Lucas played great, especially these last six holes. I was struggling a little bit.
"It's been fantastic. Team Denmark has got a lot of support so we're really happy with that."
Denmark, who had finished second in group A following the group stages, won on the last hole in each of their quarter final and semi-final matches, overcoming challenges from France and Italy respectively to book their place in the final match against Australia.
Meanwhile, Australia beat second seeds Thailand in their quarter-final match on the play-off hole, before a birdie on the final hole against Scotland gave them the victory they needed to reach the final against Denmark.
It was the Australians who took the initial advantage over the Danish pair by winning the third hole, but both Hend and Brazel found the water with their drives on the next to gift Olesen and Bjerregaard a point of their own at the shot-clock fourth hole.
Denmark then managed a birdie two on the par-three 5th, giving them a 2-1 advantage with just one hole to play - putting some added pressure upon the Australian partnership.
Despite the error on approach from Olesen, Hend and Brazel weren't able to mount a big enough challenge to win the final hole to force a play-off, and Hend was quick to commend the Danes for their deserved victory.
"A tad disappointing but Denmark played well and putted the last few holes a little better than us and they deserved the win," said Hend.
"It's a great week for everybody. The kids are fantastic. It's great to see so many kids kicking around, sliding down the hills and having fun on the golf course. That's what it's all about."
Brazel added: "It was awesome to be part of it. Centurion put a great event on. To the members, the guests, the fans, it's been fantastic."
Further drama occurred in the third/fourth place play-off as Scotland and Italy tied their match and needed two extra holes to decide the winner.
Matteo Manassero and Renato Paratore edged ahead with a birdie on the second hole, but Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay responded with a birdie of their own on the fifth, sending the contest at 1-1 down the last.
The match ended in a tie, and as the first play-off hole could not separate the pairings, they once more teed-up on the play-off hole and competed in a nearest the pin contest.
Warren's tee-shot landed just seven feet and three inches away from the hole to win third place for Scotland, as Manassero's own effort landed just four inches further from the hole.
Top seeds and home favourites Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan won their group, but were unable to get past the quarter-final stage with a loss to Italy's Matteo Manassero and Renato Paratore.