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GOLF

Super Swede Noren in record-breaking surge

Sweden's Alexander Noren rewrote the record books when a third round 63 gave him an 11-shot lead in the Scandinavian Masters at Bro Hof Slott on Saturday.

Super Swede Noren in record-breaking surge

The 29-year-old chopped two shots off the course record and established the joint second-highest lead in European Tour history as he moved to a huge 20 under par.

Only South Africa’s Retief Goosen, who was 13 shots clear at the 2002 Johnnie Walker Classic, has been further ahead with one round left to play.

“Unreal, obviously,” said Wales Open winner Noren, before heading to a friend’s wedding to drink “water and diet coke”.

“It was an amazing feeling. I never thought it would be possible to shoot these scores. Every shot went the way I wanted – I dont know what to say – I’m just so happy to play like this,” he told www.europeantour.com.

“It’s hard to sink in. I’ve never dreamt of playing like this here, I just thought if I make the cut I will be happy this week. Twenty under is better than I can imagine.”

Noren had led by three overnight from India’s Shiv Kapur.

He hit his first birdie of the day from six feet at the fifth while an eagle followed at the par five ninth to turn in a four under par 32.

Noren added further birdies on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th.

American Bubba Watson, 11 shots behind in second place, praised Noren after his round – comparing his performance to that of Rory McIlroy at last month’s US Open.

“He’s playing so good right now, like McIlroy in the States at the US Open,” said Watson after a 69.

“When a guy’s playing that good you can only keep going and do your best.

“I was just thinking one shot at a time. Played really good, just lost focus on the back nine and couldnt recover from it. One bad swing on 18 cost me a double.”

Sweden’s Christian Nilsson impressed with a 66 to join South African Jaco Van Zyl in a share of third on eight under.

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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.