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Swede sensation as Kinhult tames Ryder Cup venue

World number 183 Marcus Kinhult of Sweden tamed Le Golf National's Ryder Cup course on Friday, carding a stunning second round of 65 for a two-shot lead at the French Open.

Swede sensation as Kinhult tames Ryder Cup venue
Swedish golf player Marcus Kinhult competes in the second round of the HNA Open de France, as part of the European Tour 2018, on Saturday. Photo: Eric Feferberg / AFP
Kinhult is six under at the halfway stage with England's Chris Wood in second at four under, a shot clear of Spanish world number five Jon Rahm and Welshman Bradley Dredge, the overnight leader. 
 
World number two Justin Thomas is two under alongside fellow American Julian Suri, England's Matthew Fitzpatrick and France's Gregory Havret.
 
The French Open is taking place at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines venue which will stage the Ryder Cup from September 28-30 and when Europe will attempt to reclaim the trophy from the United States.
 
After finishing third at the Qatar Masters in February, unheralded Kinhult had made just three of eight cuts since. The 21-year-old had started his first round on Thursday with four straight bogeys but went ten under for his next 32 to become the first player to start with four dropped shots and hold a 36-hole lead since records began in 2000.
 
“It feels good, it feels really good,” he said. “I got off to a great start and played well from there. The wind picked up a little bit on the back nine, the last four or five holes or so, but happy overall. Saturday is going to be a big day and hopefully Sunday as well. It's a position I have never been in before so we'll see.”
 
Thomas birdied the third, 11th and 15th but he found the hay on the left of the 17th, missed the green and failed to get up and down in surrendering a double-bogey. 
 
“Man, it was one of the better rounds I've had in a while. I could have shot a 1-under on the front easy, could have shot a three or four under,” said the American.

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.