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PORTUGAL

Sweden’s Karlsson and Edfors shoot their way to the top in Portugal

Swedish golfers Robert Karlsson and Johan Edfors stood at the top of the leader board after the opening round of the Portugal Masters on Thursday.

Sweden's Karlsson and Edfors shoot their way to the top in Portugal
Robert Karlsson chips onto the 7th green at the Portugal Masters

Dutchman Maarten Lafeber also joined the Swedish pair in a three-way tie for the lead.

All three shot eight-under-par rounds of 64 at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course with another Swede, Alexander Noren, and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen a shot further back.

Karlsson and Edfors both hit perfect rounds that included eight birdies in conditions which proved to their liking.

“I think with this kind of set-up, with not so much rough, that’s very often what we play in Sweden,” Karlsson told www.europeantour.com.

“It’s a bit similar to Swedish golf, and the speed of the greens as well are not super fast.

“I think we are very used to playing this type of golf on our home courses where we grew up.”

Karlsson started his round on the 10th, picking up birdies on his first, the 12th, the 16th and the 17th. Coming back he picked up shots at two, three, four and six.

Edfors produced five birdies in the back nine to add to the three he earned on the way out to hold off Lafeber, who might have held the lead on his own after nine birdies but for a double bogey on the par-four 18th.

Of Europe’s Ryder Cup stars, England’s Ross Fisher and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari were best placed after shooting four-under-par rounds of 68.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was two shots further back, while Francesco Molinari looked set to miss the cut after carding a two-over-par 74.

David Horsey was the best-placed Englishman on six under, alongside veteran Irishman Paul McGinley.

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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.