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GOLF

Hedblom holds off compatriot to seal Gleneagles win

Peter Hedblom saw off a late surge from fellow Swede Martin Erlandsson to win the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on Sunday.

Hedblom holds off compatriot to seal Gleneagles win

Hedblom’s third European Tour victory in 364 starts was secured by a five under par 67 in the final round, giving him a one-shot victory over Erlandsson, whose 62 was the lowest round of his life.

Erlandsson had come from 20th after the third round to push Hedblom all the way, but the 39-year-old didn’t crack under pressure.

The former Malaysian and Moroccan Open champion was especially relieved not to need a play-off. Four times Hedblom has gone into sudden death in his career and four times he has lost – the most recent of them last Sunday in Holland when England’s Simon Dyson sank an 18-foot birdie putt.

After hitting nine birdies in his first 12 holes, Erlandsson, who last week closed the KLM Open with a course record-equalling 63, had moved from six behind to two in front.

But Hedblom reeled off four birdies in a row around the turn and secured the lead for good with a superb pitch to four feet on the long 16th.

Then two pars – not easy on bumpy greens he reckoned to be the worst of the year – on the final two holes gave him the £233,330 first prize with a 13 under total of 275.

Defending champion Gregory Havret and Scotland’s former Open champion Paul Lawrie shared third place.

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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.