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.


Swede Kinhult looks to hold on to lead at French Open

Swedish youngster Marcus Kinhult will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the French Open after a four-under 67 on Saturday, as Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm surged into contention on the Ryder Cup course at Le Golf National.

Swede Kinhult looks to hold on to lead at French Open
Swedish golfer Marcus Kinhult competes in the HNA Open de France at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines national golf course in Guyancourt on Sunday. Photo: LUCAS BARIOULET / AFP
The 21-year-old Kinhult, ranked 183 in the world, maintained his two-stroke overnight advantage ahead of playing partner Chris Wood on 10-under-par for the tournament.
“It's going to be nerve-wracking, the first few holes, at least,” he admitted. “We'll see. I felt the nerves today for sure. Tomorrow is going to be the same I guess.”
Former Masters champion Garcia carded the round of the day as he looks to boost his hopes of automatic qualification for September's Ryder Cup, sinking eight birdies in a majestic 64 to reach seven-under and set up a mouthwatering Sunday pairing with world number five Rahm.
The big-hitting 23-year-old Rahm finished in style with back-to-back birdies, including a curling, downhill 35-footer at the last, and is four shots behind Kinhult.
The winner looks likely to come from that leading quartet, although USPGA champion Justin Thomas, who can retake the world number one ranking from Dustin Johnson with victory this weekend, is level with fellow American Julian Suri on four-under.