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GOLF

Hanson shoots into Ryder Cup contention

Swedish golfer Peter Hanson moved a step closer to an automatic Ryder Cup place on Friday as he shared the lead at the Czech Open with fellow countryman Fredrik Widmark.

Hanson shoots into Ryder Cup contention

Hanson, 15th on the points table, moved closer to securing an automatic spot in Colin Montgomerie’s team by carding a seven-under-par at the Prosper Golf Resort in Celadna.

He requested an invite from the promoters to play the tournament after a strong showing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“I left four or five shots out there, but I’m feeling good about my game,” said Hanson, who added a 70 to his opening 67.

The field in Celadna is wide open, with 13 players separated by only two shots — and they include two of the men chasing a Ryder Cup place.

England’s Simon Dyson, one spot below Hanson in the cup race with only one more week to come, is on five-under as he also seeks the win that would take him into the all-important top nine at the expense of Paul Casey.

Widmark is a lowly 1,354th — joint last — on the world rankings after having shoulder surgery and then breaking his wrist falling off a roof.

The 34-year-old made his first halfway cut of the season on the European Tour, catching Hanson with three birdies in his last four holes for a 67.

One behind are Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, who in contrast bogeyed two of the last four, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Argentina’s Clodomiro Carranza and another Swede, Fredrik Andersson Hed.

The incentive for Dyson and Hanson is that Casey, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, all of whom could have qualified, are missing next week’s Johnnie Walker Championship, opening the door to the chasing pack.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is alongside Dyson after a best-of-the-day 64 and Welshman Bradley Dredge would have been as well but for arriving for his round 20 seconds late and being penalised two shots.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, eighth in the cup standings and another who is not entered for next week, is three-under and English pair Ross McGowan and Oliver Wilson made the cut on level par to keep their fading Ryder Cup hopes alive.

Overnight leader Shiv Kapur of India carded a two-over 74 and remains in the running for the title here as he sits three strokes behind the leaders.

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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.