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Sweden’s Blixt finishes second at Masters

Swedish golfer Jonas Blixt finished joint second at the Masters in Augusta on Sunday. He said he hoped his curse would end soon to make him the first Swede to ever win a major.

Sweden's Blixt finishes second at Masters
Jonas Blixt after a birdie on the 16th. Photo: AP
 
Blixt fired a one-under par 71 on Sunday to share second with Jordan Spieth at the 78th Masters, each of them on five-under 283, three shots behind winner Bubba Watson.
 
Blixt, who finished fourth last August at the PGA Championship, hopes his efforts will be enough to convince European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, whose name he struggled to recall, to select him for the squad to defend the trophy in Scotland next September.
 
"That would be a lifelong dream to appear on one of those teams. I'm going to do everything I can, absolutely everything, to be on that team," Blixt said.
 
"It's up to Paul McGinley to make the decisions on that. I'm going to try to play as good as I can in order so he doesn't have a choice but to pick me. I would love to be on that team."
 
No Swedish man has ever won a major and Blixt never came within three shots of the lead on the back nine, adding to his notion of a jinx.
 
"I hope that curse kind of ends soon," he said. "I'm going to do as much as I can and work hard at it to end it. It almost feels a little bit of a curse because we have so many good players coming through.
 
"I would love to win a major. That's one of my lifelong dreams."
 
Blixt was the unlikely leader of the European charge, but never got the birdie chances that might have made him a green jacket threat.
 
"I played decently, just didn't get my approaches as close as I wanted and didn't give myself enough opportunities to make birdies," Blixt said.
 
"But I learned a lot and have a lot more new experiences and can't wait to come back."
 
Blixt could have been the first Masters debutante to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 and had hoped to be the first European winner of a green jacket since Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.
 
"It's really tough. You beat your head in a little bit but you can't beat yourself up too bad," he said. "I love majors. I love when it's tough. It's not a shootout. So the harder the better."
 
 

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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.