The last time Thorbjorn Olesen played a strokeplay event in Scotland he was crestfallen, after slumping from leading the Scottish Open on day one to missing the cut 24 hours later.
Yesterday, the emotions were at the other end of the scale when he saw off the chasing pack to clinch the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by two shots.
The Dane came into this event, famed for reinvigorating careers, having missed 13 out of 19 cuts, languishing down in 124th on the money list and in danger of losing his full playing rights.
With a winners’ cheque of over £500,000 banked and all the Ryder Cup qualifying points that go with it the 25-year-old, whose injuries in recent seasons have ranged from popping tendons in his hand to falling of a camel in Dubai, can now look back on his crushing Gullane experience as a character-building one.
“Obviously when you lead after the first round and then miss the cut after Friday you are very disappointed and angry at yourself for letting that happen,” he said. “You just try to get on with it and I really had some good people around me to help me with that.
“I remember that night. I shared a house with Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen and we had a few drinks. We were all a bit sad so we talked a lot and just had a few drinks.
“It was good to have Thomas there because he’s been through a lot of ups and downs in his career so he knows a lot about it. I’ve leaned on him a lot this year and he has been a great help.”
Olesen, who led by three going into yesterday’s play, didn’t have a par on his card until the sixth. From then on in though, he was in control of his game holing a 50 foot birdie putt on 15.
Mind you, even a tee shot on to the widest fairway in golf up 18 with a two shot lead presents its own challenges with a big tour win tantalisingly close.
Olesen, who used virtually the full width of the first fairway, said: “I was trying to chip a driver in the fairway which was probably not the best idea but luckily enough there’s a lot of room on that 18th hole so I got away with it.”
Several big names flirted with a serious challenge, but Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Stewart Cink all frittered away shots on the back nine.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat got into contention for a unique Scottish double. 17 under was the Paul Lawrie Matchplay champion’s higher water mark though, before he dropped back to 15 under and a share of fourth place.
Stephen Gallacher, who finished on 13 under with a three under par 69, didn’t get that far up the leaderboard.
But, after reaching the turn in 32 and backing it up with birdies on 10 and 12, he was just two off the lead at one point.
“It was early doors and was always going to be tough coming back into the wind,” Gallacher said.
“It’s just a shame I couldn’t have come back in two or three under and posted a score.”
David Drysdale was another player with an injury/redemption story, albeit not quite as impressive as Olesen’s.
The Lothians golfer has all but secured his tour card after finishing leading Scot on 14 under for a top 10 finish.
Drysdale, who has been taking early morning dips in the North Sea to help recover from a torn calf muscle, believes the enforced lay-off may have proved to be a blessing in disguise.
He said: “Maybe the rest has helped me.
“Italy was my fifth tournament in a row. I was tired and that’s probably why the injury happened. Apart from getting physio and wandering about in the sea, I’ve done nothing.
“Tomorrow morning I’ll be back in the water. I was in seeing him (physio Stuart Barton) again today at seven o’clock. He’s been tremendous.”
Drysdale, who signed for a 68, added: “It was a good round today and a good week overall. I must be pretty close to keeping my card.
“A good performance at Woburn might get me into the top 75, then if I get into Turkey I could get into the BMW in China and then possibly Dubai.”
There were two other Scots who made it through to Sunday. Scott Jamieson signed off on nine under, and Marc Warren eight under. Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil missed the cut.