Sweden’s Jonas Blixt claims US PGA Tour title

Swedish golfer Jonas Blixt won his second US PGA Tour title on Sunday, outdueling four rivals in near darkness on Sunday to win the $6.3 million Greenbrier Classic by two strokes.

Sweden's Jonas Blixt claims US PGA Tour title

In a final round that was halted for more than three hours by a thunderstorm and ended in twilight gloom, Blixt fired a three-under par 67 for the third day in a row to finish on 13-under 267, his first top-10 PGA Tour finish of the year.

“It has been a bad year for me but I just pulled it off,” a tearful Blixt said. “I can’t believe it. I’m just really happy.”

Blixt, whose only prior PGA victory came at last year’s Open, won the $1.13 million top prize and clinched a berth in next year’s Masters, a huge feat for a golfer who has never played in a major championship.

“A dream come true,” Blixt said. “I watched (the Masters) when I was a kid. I always wanted to play there. It’s a special place, almost like a religious experience to be there. To play there, I’ve just got no words for it.”

“It’s so many dreams come true. It’s one week and the whole year turns around. It’s really special.”

Australians Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones and Americans Johnson Wagner and

Jimmy Walker shared second on 269. The Aussies both fired 68s while Walker shot 71 and Wagner fired a 73, but none could catch Blixt over the final holes.

“I pulled off some really good shots and had some birdie putts I can make,” Blixt said. “It felt awesome. I had my A-game. I got a lot of good breaks.”

“It’s just really cool to finish on top.”

An afternoon thunderstorm stopped play for three hours and ten minutes and rain continued to drench the 7,287-yard layout even after golfers returned to the course.

Blixt, second last month at the European Tour’s Swedish Masters, birdied the par-four fifth and fired back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th holes.

After a bogey at the 11th, Blixt sank a four-foot birdie at the par-five twelfth to reach 13-under par, matching Wagner for the lead after the American took a bogey at the 11th.

The 29-year-old Swede, who missed the cut in eight of his 16 prior PGA Tour starts this season, missed a six-foot par putt at the 13th but Wagner missed a six-foot par putt on the same hole to join Blixt on 12-under with Bowditch, Walker and Jones on their heels as the sun began to set.

Blixt rose to the challenge with a nine-foot birdie putt at the 16th, celebrating with a fist pump, and when Wagner took a bogey at the par-three 15th moments later after finding a bunker off the tee, Blixt led by two strokes.

Jones made a birdie at the par-five 17th to pull within two shots but Blixt parred his way to the clubhouse, the key shot a 45-foot putt over a ridge at the par-three 18th that stopped a foot from the cup.

Wagner and Walker both reached the 17th green needing a birdie-birdie finish to force a playoff, but both settled for pars and when they failed to ace the final hole, Blixt’s title was assured.

Walker, seeking his first Tour title, settled for his best PGA Tour finish, improving on his share of third place from this year at Pebble Beach.

The Local/AFP

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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.