Cape Town - Jonathan Thomson shrugged off his poor early season form to storm into the first round lead at the Made in Denmark, where Ryder Cup hopefuls Thorbjørn Olesen, Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell endured mixed fortunes at this, the final qualifying event to gain an automatic place in Thomas Bjørn’s European Team to face the USA in Paris in four weeks’ time.
While Thomson was forging his way to the top of the leaderboard, the Ryder Cup subplot at the Made in Denmark began to develop in earnest.
Olesen made a fast start in his bid to retain the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot to Bjørn’s team. The 28 year old Dane needs to finish in a tie for seventh place with one other player or better to guarantee a Ryder Cup debut.
One under through three holes, Olesen looked to be in control but lost momentum and dropped four strokes before two birdies in his last three holes saved the round and saw the Dane finish on one over par.
The two men who can pass Olesen to qualify for the Ryder Cup Team – the English duo of Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperel – both need to win this week. Pepperel, playing with Bjørn, matched the Ryder Cup Captain’s two under 70; while Fitzpatrick had to settle for a level par 72.
Fitzpatrick was playing alongside Ryder Cup Vice Captain Robert Karlsson, a man who had reason to celebrate his first round in Denmark as he became the first Swedish player (and only the 11th player in history) to reach the landmark achievement of 600 European Tour appearances.
64 J Thomson (Eng);
66 B Rumford (Aus); C Bezuidenhout (RSA); H Stewart (USA); M Baldwin (Eng); L Bjerregaard (Den); J Geary (Nzl)
67 S Fernandez (Esp); R Evans (Eng); R Rock (Eng); J Janewattananond (Tha); E Van Rooyen (RSA); T Detry (Bel); R McEvoy (Eng); S Horsfield (Eng); J Donaldson (Wal);
68 P Khongwatmai (Tha); M Kinhult (Swe); J Lagergren (Swe); N Colsaerts (Bel); P Oriol (Esp); J Norris (Aus); M Wallace (Eng); D Drysdale (Sco); L Westwood (Eng); M Southgate (Eng);
69 N Møller (Den); N Tinning (Den); D Willett (Eng); G Havret (Fra); R Ramsay (Sco); T Pieters (Bel); A Chesters (Eng); F Zanotti (Par); S Vincent (Zim); P Widegren (Swe); J Morrison (Eng); N Højgaard (am) (Den);
70 H Sturehed (Swe); S Brown (Eng); T Bjørn (Den); E Pepperell (Eng); A Otaegui (Esp); A Wu (Chn); N Cullen (Aus); C Hanson (Eng); T Lewis (Eng); H Porteous (RSA); J Walters (RSA); C Koepka (USA); M Warren (Sco); J Smith (Eng);
71 B Neil (Sco); M Calderon (Chi); B Dredge (Wal); M Schwab (Aut); A Bland (Aus); J Scrivener (Aus); R Gouveia (Por); O Fisher (Eng); E Molinari (Ita); C Shinkwin (Eng); J Wang (Kor); L Jensen (Den); L Canter (Eng); H Tanihara (Jpn); R Sterne (RSA); P Peterson (USA); G Bourdy (Fra); A Saddier (Fra);
72 A Olsen (Nor); M Tullo (Chi); T Aiken (RSA); R Bland (Eng); T Pulkkanen (Fin); D Lipsky (USA); S Webster (Eng); A Connelly (Can); J Hansen (Den); Y Miyazato (Jpn); D Brooks (Eng); S Gallacher (Sco); S Brazel (Aus); R Karlsson (Swe); P Hanson (Swe); M Fitzpatrick (Eng); C Ford (Eng); F Dreier (Den); C Blomstrand (Swe); F Aguilar (Chi); P Angles (Esp); M Millar (Aus);
73 D Horsey (Eng); S Khan (Eng); G Bhullar (Ind); D Ghim (USA); A Hansen (Den); J Dantorp (Swe); T Nørret (Den); J Winther (Den); R Wattel (Fra); M Kaymer (Ger); M Armitage (Eng); S Kjeldsen (Den); J Guerrier (Fra); T Olesen (Den); J Choi (Kor); M Nixon (Eng); J Kruyswijk (RSA);
74 S Chawrasia (Ind); M Siem (Ger); M Jonzon (Swe); R Cho (Kor); S Gros (Fra); C Sordet (Fra); M Fraser (Aus); S Heisele (Ger); G Stal (Fra); Ó Serna (Mex); G Green (Mas); L Herbert (Aus); R Green (Aus);
75 O Farr (Wal); D Boonma (Tha); J Blixt (Swe); D Im (USA); A Sandhu (Ind); A Cañizares (Esp); D Burmester (RSA); R Højgaard (am) (Den);
76 J Glennemo (Swe); Z Lombard (RSA); S Lee (Kor); D Howell (Eng); M Foster (Eng); M Lundberg (Swe); L Slattery (Eng); M Madsen (Den); J Daly (USA);
77 F Fritsch (Ger); C Syme (Sco);
78 B Hafthorsson (Isl); J Van Zyl (RSA);
79 S Hend (Aus); J Munro (Aus); A Dodt (Aus);