Charlotte - Thorbjorn Olesen has managed some solid efforts in major championships, but the Dane finally feels prepared to challenge for greatness and perhaps win this week at the PGA Championship.
Olesen fired a four-under-par 67 in Thursday's opening round at Quail Hollow to share the lead with Kevin Kisner after 18 holes in the year's final major tournament, thanks to a 27-foot birdie putt on the closing hole.
While he has two top-10 major showings, a share of sixth in his 2013 Masters debut and of ninth at the 2012 British Open, Olesen says this is the moment that finally feels right.
"I've had a couple of top-10s in majors. I've had some good rounds in majors and 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."
Olesen was a contender for the Claret Jug in 2012 at Royal Lytham, sharing fourth at the Open after a second-round 66, but weekend rounds of 71 and 74 dropped him back.
At the end of the 2012 season, Olesen cracked the world top-50 in the last spot, but it was enough to book his first Masters appearance the following April.
Augusta National humbled him with a first-round 78, but Olesen responded with the best score of any player over the last three rounds, shooting a 70 and two 68s.
"I feel more confident with myself and my game than I probably did a few years ago," Olesen said. "So obviously a lot of things can happen. I just have to stay relaxed the next few days, still try to keep the ball in the fairway, and then I know I can hit it close and make some birdies."
He won't make many like the stunner at 18 that lifted him into a share of the lead with Kisner, who also closed with a birdie on the last hole.
"It was a little bit of a safe shot into the green," Olesen said. "That's what can happen on this golf course, when you play safe into the greens, you give yourself very tricky putts, like the one I had, downhill, left-to-right. It was very fast. But it was just a very good roll.
"I've been putting well the whole round. Had a couple of good chances and missed but felt like I was rolling the ball very well. So it was nice to see that one drop."
A key to Olesen's showing was improved driving that began last weekend in Akron at the World Golf Championships tuneup event for the PGA, where he closed 67-65.
"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," Olesen said. "That definitely gave me a lot of confidence."
After winning his fourth European Tour title last year in Turkey, Olesen has had two top-five finishes this season, sharing fourth at the Nordea Masters and third at the French Open.
"I had a good week in France, but besides that, I haven't really had the results, but felt like I was playing very well," Olesen said.
Scores after Thursday's opening round of the 99th PGA Championship at par-71 Quail Hollow:
67 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 33-34, Kevin Kisner (USA) 33-34
68 - Grayson Murray (USA) 36-32, Brooks Koepka (USA) 32-36, Gary Woodland (USA) 32-36, Chris Stroud (USA) 35-33, D.A. Points (USA) 34-34
69 - Tony Finau (USA) 34-35, Patrick Reed (USA) 32-37, Paul Casey (ENG) 35-34, Jim Herman (USA) 33-36, Bud Cauley (USA) 34-35, Rickie Fowler (USA) 34-35, Brian Harman (USA) 31-38
70 - Hideki Matsuyana (JPN) 35-35, Kang Sung (KOR) 36-34, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 34-36, Jason Day (AUS) 33-37, Dustin Johnson (USA) 34-36, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 37-33, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 35-35, Pat Perez (USA) 35-35, Jon Rahm (ESP) 33-37, Jordan Smith (ENG) 36-34
71 - Zach Johnson (USA) 35-36, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 35-36, Satoshi Kodaira (JPN) 36-35, Adam Scott (AUS) 35-36, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 36-35, Matt Kuchar (USA) 35-36, Ryan Moore (USA) 34-37, Sean O'Hair (USA) 38-33
72 - Chris Wood (ENG) 37-35, Jordan Spieth (USA) 36-36, David Lingmerth (SWE) 37-35, Scott Hend (AUS) 34-38, Yuta Ikeda (JPN) 35-37, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 36-36, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 34-38, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 34-38, Kevin Chappell (USA) 33-39, Cody Gribble (USA) 33-39, Chez Reavie (USA) 36-36
73 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 35-38, Justin Thomas (USA) 36-37, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 36-37, Lee Westwood (ENG) 38-35, Scott Brown (USA) 36-37, Kelly Kraft (USA) 35-38, Danny Willett (ENG) 38-35, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 36-37, K.T. Kim (KOR) 37-36, James Hahn (USA) 35-38, Richard Sterne (RSA) 38-35, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 36-37, Shaun Micheel (USA) 37-36, Daniel Berger (USA) 36-37, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 37-36, Wang Jeung-Hun (KOR) 37-36, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 37-36, Li Haotong (CHN) 36-37
74 - Shane Lowry (IRE) 38-36, Alex Noren (SWE) 36-38, Peter Uihlein (USA) 37-37, Ian Poulter (ENG) 35-39, Wesley Bryan (USA) 38-36, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 36-38, John Daly (USA) 36-38, Robert Streb (USA) 37-37, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 36-38, Keegan Bradley (USA) 37-37, J.B. Holmes (USA) 38-36, Xander Schauffle (USA) 35-39, Brendan Steele (USA) 37-37, Omar Uresti (USA) 35-39, Jason Dufner (USA) 40-34, Jonas Blixt (SWE) 37-37, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 38-36, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 37-37
75 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 35-40, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 35-40, Charley Hoffman (USA) 37-38, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 38-37, Cameron Smith (AUS) 35-40, Lucas Glover (USA) 39-36, Jason Kokrak (USA) 38-37, Russell Henley (USA) 36-39, Marc Leishman (AUS) 35-40, Steve Stricker (USA) 38-37, Ross Fisher (ENG) 36-39, Bill Haas (USA) 35-40, Alexander Levy (FRA) 39-36, Luke List (USA) 37-38, Ryan Fox (NZL) 41-34
76 - Daniel Summerhays (USA) 36-40, Kyle Stanley (USA) 39-37, Kenny Pigman (USA) 40-36, Matt Dobyns (USA) 39-37, Joost Luiten (NED) 35-41, Luke Donald (ENG) 37-39, Webb Simpson (USA) 38-38, Yang Yong-Eun (KOR) 35-41, Billy Horschel (USA) 39-37, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 37-39, Danny Lee (NZL) 37-39, Justin Rose (ENG) 35-41, Jim Furyk (USA) 37-39
77 - Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 38-39, Russell Knox (SCO) 40-37, Bubba Watson (USA) 36-41, William McGirt (USA) 38-39, Brian Smock (USA) 37-40, Rod Pampling (AUS) 41-36, Hudson Swafford (USA) 37-40, Greg Gregory (USA) 37-40, Branden Grace (RSA) 38-39, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 39-38, Martin Laird (SCO) 37-40
78 - Dave McNabb (USA) 36-42, Charles Howell III (USA) 38-40, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 38-40, Davis Love III (USA) 38-40, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 38-40, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 38-40, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 39-39, J.J. Wood (USA) 37-41
79 - Rich Berberian (USA) 38-41, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 37-42, Patrick Rodgers (USA) 38-41, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 40-39, Brandon Stone (RSA) 40-39, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 39-40, Phil Mickelson (USA) 39-40, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 40-39, Jamie Broce (USA) 40-39, Alex Beach (USA) 39-40, Kevin Na (USA) 40-39
80 - Ernie Els (RSA) 40-40, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 43-37, Song Young-Han (KOR) 39-41, Mike Small (USA) 40-40, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 42-38, Chris Kirk (USA) 38-42
81 - Adam Rainaud (USA) 40-41, Jimmy Walker (USA) 39-42, Chris Moody (USA) 42-39
82 - Rich Beem (USA) 40-42, Ryan Vermeer (USA) 43-39, Rod Perry (USA) 39-43, Paul Claxton (USA) 40-42
83 - Scott Hebert (USA) 40-43
84 - Stuart Deane (USA) 41-43, David Muttitt (USA) 42-42, Jaysen Hansen (USA) 41-43
WD - Andrew Johnston (ENG) 39-39, Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 40-39