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GOLF

Sörenstam leading chase in Suzhou Open

Swedish golfer Annika Sörenstam has not given up hope of of securing her fourth tour victory of the year at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China. Sörenstam hit a second round 69 to hold on to second place on the leader board.

Sörenstam leading chase in Suzhou Open

China’s Ye Liying extended her lead after hitting a bogey-free second-round four-under 68 in wet conditions on Saturday.

Liying’s two-day total of 11-under 133 puts her five strokes ahead of South Korea’s Han Min-jee and Sörenstam.

Both Min-jee and Sörenstam checked out with a three-under 69 to put them in second place in the 200,000-Euro (250,000-dollar) contest with a two-round total of six-under 138.

Liying, who posted birdies on the 3rd, 5th, 11th and 18th holes, said she had played it safe in the second round to maintain her lead.

“I told myself to play it safe and add a few more birdies to strengthen my position,” said Liying.

“There’s no pressure on me. I’ll go into the final round and try and pick up a couple of strokes to keep my rivals out of reach.”

Karen Lunn of Australia and fellow Ladies European Tour player Anna Rossie of Italy recorded the lowest total in the second round by posting a five-under 67.

Sörenstam, the favourite to win before the start of the contest on Friday, said she thought she had played well.

“I hit 17 greens again today. I still give myself a chance to win this tournament. It’s not over until the full playing schedule is over.

“I feel very comfortable after playing three times (one pro-am) in this course. Some of my putts braked near the lip of the cup. I hope the putts will roll in tomorrow,” she said.

The Swede is calling it quits at the end of the season to start a family and focus on her business interests and is targeting her fourth victory this year.

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.