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Sweden’s Hedblom leads at golf masters in Spain

Sweden's Peter Hedblom rose to the top of the leaderboard at Spain's Castelló Masters Costa Azahar on Friday after carding a second-round 64 for a nine under par total of 133.

Sweden's Hedblom leads at golf masters in Spain
Hedblom on the first day of play at the Scandinavian Masters, July

He leads in Valencia by one shot from joint overnight pacesetter Paul Lawrie, who shot a 70 to add to his opening 64, Spain’s Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño and Italian Matteo Manassero.

Next come a group of four tied on seven under: Spain’s Álvaro Velasco, who jumped 48 places with a 64 of his own to join Lawrie’s fellow overnight leader Ricardo González of Argentina, Sweden’s Christian Nilsson and France’s Grégory Bourdy.

Ryder Cup vice captain Sergio García, who won at the inaugural tournament in 2008, added a 73 to his first day 71 to sit two over, missing the cut.

Hedblom shot to the top of the pack with six birdies, an eagle and a single bogey at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo. However, at the ninth – his last – the three-time European Tour winner found trouble off the tee and ran up a bogey five.

“I think the longest par putt I had today was a tap-in. Everything was going close and then one bad tee shot on the last. Still, in the lead with two days to go,” the 40-year-old told europeantour.com.

He conceded it has been a frustrating season – he is currently 98th on The Race to Dubai, which would represent his lowest position since 2002. However, he is optimistic that a good finish in Valencia can reignite his chances of reaching next month’s Dubai World Championship.

“The game hasn’t been as solid as it usually is. Putting, my lines haven’t been as good as they usually are but a good finish here and it can be a good year. Two more rounds like that and I’ll be smiling a lot,” he said.

The tournament was won last year by fellow Swede Michael Jonzon.

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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.