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GOLF

Two Swedes swing to success in golfing victories

Mikael Lundberg claimed victory at the Russian Open in Moscow for a second time, while Helen Alfredsson’s win at the Evian Masters in France made her the event's first three-time winner.

Two Swedes swing to success in golfing victories

Lundberg, who first one in 2005, fired a closing round 68 at Le Meridien Moscow Country Club to finish at 21 under par.

The round was enough for two-shot victory over Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara with England’s Benn Barham birdieing the last to finish third on 18 under.

Jamie Moul, one off the lead overnight, could only manage a closing 73 to fall back into a tie for sixth.

“This is my favourite place, everything is great here,” said Lundberg, who lost his card in 2006 but returned to the tour via the Challenge Tour last year.

“The worst part is you come here and it feels like I always play well and I should do well, so you put a lot of pressure on yourself and you wonder when you are going to screw up.”

Lundberg had missed the cut in his previous two events and failed to register a single top-ten finish in 2008, but took home the first prize of €210,237 ($330,457) and a two-year tour exemption.

Meanwhile, near the shores of Lake Geneva in France, Alfredsson came out top in a three-way sudden-death play-off to take her third Evian Masters title.

The 43-year-old veteran, who won the inaugural title in 1994 and added a second in 1998, had birdied the final two holes for a final round 67 and forced herself into a play-off on 15 under par 273 against Brazil’s Angela Park and South Korean rookie, Na-Yeon Choi.

The play-off was over the par five 18th and experience proved to be decisive as Alfredsson clinched the $475,000 dollar first prize – the joint richest in the women’s game – with a birdie four at the third extra hole.

Park, who had led going into the final round and closed with a 71, went out when she could only make par at the first extra hole, and 21-year-old Choi missed a six foot birdie putt that would have extended the contest.

Alfredssson two-putted for the winning birdie.

“I’m really getting too old for this,” joked the popular Alfredsson, who has won 19 tournaments worldwide in her 19-year career, but none since the 2003 Longs Drugs Challenge in California.

It was her first win in Europe since the 2001 WPGA Championship of Europe in Wales.

“I’m thrilled to win again,” she continued.

“This tournament has always had a special place in my heart ever since I won the first one. It is the most beautiful place and I feel I have been so lucky to be invited back every year. It’s just great to be a three-time champion.”

World No.1 Lorena Ochoa closed with a 68 and was fifth on 12 under par, while two-time winner Annika Sorenstam, in her final Evian Masters before retirement, also shot 68 for seven under.

“It is sad to know I won’t be back (playing here again),” admitted Sorenstam.

“But I have good memories and I’m looking forward to new challenges.”

GOLF

Sweden’s Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters

Sweden's Alex Noren came back from a seven-shot overnight deficit to claim a dramatic French Open victory at Le Golf National on Sunday, as the difficult closing stretch of the Ryder Cup course saw a host of challengers slip up.

Sweden's Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters
Swedish golfer Alex Noren holds the trophy after winning the HNA Open de France, as part of the European Tour 2018, on Sunday. Photo: LUCAS BARIOULET / AFP
Fellow Swede Marcus Kinhult had entered Sunday's play with a two-shot lead but struggled through a five-over final round to end in a three-way tie for fifth.
 
World number 16 Noren fired a brilliant four-under 67 to reach seven-under par for the tournament, before sitting back and watching his rivals falter as he won by a single stroke.
 
The 35-year-old will be a key figure for Europe when the Ryder Cup gets underway on September 28, and he showed all his qualities by playing the last three holes in two-under.
 
The big-name pairing of Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm both threatened, but the two Spaniards found water at the 18th, while world number two Justin Thomas never seriously contended.
 
Julian Suri, who was looking to become the first American winner of the event since Barry Jaeckel in 1972, went to the 72nd hole on eight-under but made a watery double-bogey, while England's Chris Wood also blew a late lead.
 
That handed Noren, who finished his fourth round 45 minutes before the final group, a 10th European Tour title and first since the BMW PGA Championship in May 2017, when he also fought back from seven shots behind on the final day.
 
Scotland's Russell Knox carded a final-round 65 earlier in the day to finish tied for second with Suri and Wood on six-under — enough to secure him a spot for the British Open at Carnoustie along with Kinhult and Suri.