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Sweden’s Nordqvist claims second LPGA tournament title

Eight final round birdies by Swedish golfer Anna Nordqvist helped her take home an unexpected win at the LPGA Tour Championship on Monday.

Sweden's Nordqvist claims second LPGA tournament title

Nordqvist, 22, fired a final-round 65 to finish at 13-under 203 in the tournament reduced to 54 holes because of heavy rain over the weekend.

Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa was two strokes back on 205 and secured her fourth straight Player of the Year award when challenger South Korean Jiyai Shin couldn’t chip in from the front of the 18th green,

The win gave Nordqvist her second LPGA victory and made it through the season without missing a cut in 15 starts. She also won the LPGA Championship this year.

Shin and Nordqvist played in the day’s final group, right behind Ochoa. The Houstonian Golf and Country Club was still water-logged after heavy rain on Friday and Saturday. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls.

Nordqvist surged to the lead at 12 under with five straight birdies from the eighth.

She gave back a shot at 13, then added back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15. With the victory in her grasp, Ochoa and Shin continued their duel.

“I definitely tried to be aggressive,” Nordqvist said. “It was pretty tight up the leaderboard, so you were really going to have to shoot low in order to pull it off.

“I’m just very, very happy that I did.”

Shin may have been feeling the pressure as she struggled with her putter on the front nine. She didn’t make a birdie until the 11th, when Ochoa was already within a shot of the lead.

Back-to-back bogeys by Ochoa at eight and nine opened the door for Nordqvist. Ochoa rebounded with a birdie at 15 to set up the dramatic finish.

Momentum seemed to be swinging Shin’s way when Ochoa needed two strokes to get out of a greenside bunker on the par-three 17th. Ochoa sank a bogey putt as Shin and Nordqvist watched from the tee.

But Shin also found a bunker on 17, blasted out short of the green and bogeyed.

Ochoa landed her approach at 18 about 16 feet from the pin, and gave the leaderboard a hard look as she walked to the green.

She and caddie Greg Johnston discussed the situation before Ochoa stepped up and drained her putt.

Shin’s second shot at 18 was short of the green. Her chip missed the hole by inches and Ochoa patted her heart and hugged Johnston.

Korea’s Na Yeon Choi (64) and second-round leader Kristy McPherson (70) finished tied for third on 206.

Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson and South Koreans Song-Hee Kim and Hee Young Park were tied on 209, and Shin was joined on 210 by Japan’s Ai Miyazato, Norway’s Suzanne Pettersen and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng.

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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.