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Finn Mikko Ilonen claims Nordea Masters golf title

Finland's Mikko Ilonen stayed ahead of Sweden's Jonas Blixt to win the Nordea Masters golf tournament on Sunday at Bro Hof Slott north of Stockholm, claiming his first European Tour title in six years.

Finn Mikko Ilonen claims Nordea Masters golf title

The 33-year-old Ilonen, the overnight leader who had finished second in China and Morocco earlier this season, hit a final round, three-under-par 69 to bag a 21-under total.

That was three shots ahead of Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, with Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger sneaking third on 17 under.

The second-place finish was a bitter pill for Blixt.

“I’m disappointed and feel completely empty,” the 29-year-old Swede told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“I’m happy with how I played but I can’t say that I’m especially happy over coming in second.”

Ilonen’s two previous victories on the European Tour came in 2007 – the latter at this event, referred to at the time as the Scandinavian Masters.

The Finn had carded rounds of 70, 63 and 65 heading into the final day on Sunday at and continued to make his mark at the picturesque waterfront course of Bro Hof Slott, sinking birdies on the second, third, 11th and 13th holes, his only error a bogey sixth on the long 12th.

“It’s pretty special,” said Ilonen.

“I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today.”

He downplayed his bogey on the 12th, saying: “I just got ahead of myself with the first putt.

“I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two.”

AFP/The Local/dl

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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.