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GOLF

Robert Karlsson namesake sets Scandinavian Masters pace

Robert Karlsson, an amateur golfer sharing the name and nationality of the more famous Ryder Cup player and European number one, claimed a share of the lead as the Scandinavian Masters opened on Thursday.

The 22-year-old carded a five under 67 to stand on top of the leaderboard alongside fellow Swede Alex Noren and South African Jaco Van Zyl.

Karlsson had four birdies on the way out to turn in 32 and added further gains at the tenth and 13th.

A double bogey at the 17th threatened to spoil his day, but he responded with a closing birdie.

“That was a great start to the tournament,” said Karlsson, playing only his second European Tour event.

“Ever since I qualified on Monday, Ive been trying to really enjoy this experience. Its hard not to smile.”

Qualifying School graduate Van Zyl had six birdies against just one dropped shot.

“It was good. Really tough conditions, very good golf course,” he said.

The better-known Robert Karlsson opened with a respectable 69, one shot off second place which is shared by Sweden’s Niklas Lemke, Englands John Parry, Italian Lorenzo Gagli and Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia on four under.

The prestigious tournament is being played at Bro Hof Slott near Stockholm and comes to a climax on Sunday.

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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.