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Stenson caught by Garcia in Shanghai

Sweden's Henrik Stenson was joined by Spanish sensation Sergio Garcia at the top of the HSBC Champions leaderboard after a rain-delayed second round in Shanghai on Saturday.

Stenson caught by Garcia in Shanghai

World number three Garcia fired a four-under par 68 to catch Stenson, who carded a 69. The pair ended the second round on 10 under, one stroke ahead of Australian Geoff Ogilvy and young Englishman Oliver Wilson.

World number two Phil Mickelson of the United States was at eight under after shooting a two-under 70, alongside Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Ogilvy and McDowell shot up into contention with seven-under 65s, the equal best rounds of the day at the Sheshan International Golf Club.

The second round was played a day late after the whole of Friday was washed out by heavy rain.

Damp conditions prevented an early start on Saturday, meaning organisers could not catch up as hoped. They will now almost certainly have to push the tournament into a fifth day on Monday.

Some of the players began their third rounds in fading light on Saturday.

The HSBC Champions has attracted one of the best fields ever to have played in Asia, and the leaderboard reflected the enormous quality on display.

Among the other big names still in contention, Australian Adam Scott was in a group of four players at seven under after shooting a 71 on Saturday.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, winner of the British Open and PGA Championship this year, was at five under after shooting a two-under 70.

Rising American star Anthony Kim was sitting alongside Harrington at five under, although he would have been disappointed with his one-over 73.

The Asian and European tours co-sanction the HSBC Champions, and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng maintained his position as the best from Asia with a 70 that placed him tied for 11th at six under.

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.