The Made in Denmark sponsored by FREJA (May 23-26) is the golf tournament on the European Tour this week.
This will be only the sixth edition of the event, which was played at the Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort from 2014-17 and returns to Himmerland this year after being played at the Silkeborg Ry Golfklub in 2018.
The tournament has been moved from August to May and it will be interesting to see what effect its new place in the calendar has on some of the star names. That’s because it now follows the USPGA Championship, where many of the top professionals endured a tough week at Bethpage Black last week.
The top performing European at last week’s new second major of the season was Matt Wallace, and the ever-improving Englishman deserves his favourite status this week. However, after finishing tied-third in New York last week and runner-up in the previous week’s British Masters, he could be a spent force.
The reverse psychology is that Wallace could find this week’s test easier and he was sixth at Himmerland in 2017. However, Wallace also has the pressure of being the defending champion (on a different layout) and he looks worth taking on this week.
There hasn’t been a Danish winner of the Made In Denmark so far, and the home fans will be looking at the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen, Lucas Bjerregaard, and Soren Kjeldsen this week to keep the €500,000 first prize at home.
Bjerregaard comes into the tournament in the best form of the Danish trio after a good showing at Bethpage Black last week but his best finish at Himmerland in four previous attempts is 28th.
Kjeldsen has at least finished second here in the past but, though he finished 15th when last seen, the ageing short-hitting Dane will probably need everything to fall right if he’s to win this week. Olesen also looks out of form and, though he’s a real closer when he gets a sniff of victory, his best finish in this event is seventh so far.
In truth, there aren’t many players in this week’s field that can boast much decent form this at this venue, and it could pay dividends to stick with a few players that have proven themselves here in the past.
One player who should have left Bethpage Black in a positive mood is Thomas Pieters, as the young Belgian dropped six shots in his first three holes, yet only finished the tournament on +4. Even pars on those opening three holes would have seen him finish on –2, which would have seen him tie for third.
He also won the 2016 edition of the Made In Denmark and, having slipped to number 90 in the world, Pieters needs a good finish to maintain his top-100 status, whilst a win would propel him back towards that all-important world top-50.
A player that has been missing out on the majors so far this season is Jordan Smith, but the Englishman has certainly been showing enough to suggest that a second European Tour victory isn’t far away.
Currently ranked 120th in the world, he has finished in the top-14 in his last four events, including three top-7 finishes. He’s yet to play at Himmerland but, after finishing twentieth in last year’s event, when not in such good form, he should go well at a course where his length off the tee should be a big asset.
Every golf pundit has Thomas Detry marked down as a winner waiting to happen on the European Tour and it’s a surprise to see the Belgian as big as 33/1 in places this week. He’s finished top-15 in three of his last six events and also finished 14th on his only previous visit to Himmerland. He shot three sub-70 rounds that week and, if he can make it four this time around, he should be in contention come Sunday.
Finally, it could be worth having a small bet on David Horsey this week in a field without much strength in depth. It’s hard to know if the Englishman still has the killer instinct that he showed to win his four European Tour victories. However, having finished first and second in four previous visits, he could be ready to contend after a string of performances in which he’s made the cut this year.