Alex Noren Wins Second Rolex Series Title in France – BlackCardEmotion

Alex Noren birdied two of his last three holes at Le Golf National to claim his second Rolex Series title on a dramatic final afternoon at the HNA Open de France.

The Swede entered round four seven shots off the lead and still did not look a likely winner when he turned in 35 as the final groups battled it out atop the leaderboard.

He birdied the 12th, 16th and 17th to set the target at seven under but was still behind on-course leader Julian Suri as he signed for his closing 67.

The American put his second on the 18th in the water to surrender a double-bogey and with England’s Chris Wood bogeying the 15th and 17th, Noren was the last man standing in Paris.

Suri and Wood finished a shot off the lead alongside Scot Russell Knox – who had earlier signed for a 65 – with Knox, Suri and Swede Marcus Kinhult earning a spot at the Open Championship later this month.

Kinhult had entered the day with a two-shot lead but he signed for a closing 76 to finish at five under alongside World Number Five Jon Rahm and England’s Matthew Southgate.

World Number Two Justin Thomas, Swede Alexander Björk and Spanish duo Jorge Campillo and Sergio Garcia finished three shots off the lead.

Noren’s last win came in similar fashion at the 2017 BMW Championship – the inaugural Rolex Series event – when he posted a stunning 62 on Sunday from seven back and was left to wait and see if he had done enough at Wentworth Club.

“When you’re out there you really want this win and it felt unbelievable to get it today,” he said. “It’s what I was putting and practicing for, maybe a play-off, it was unreal how it went and I didn’t expect that.”

This week’s victory takes his total to ten on the European Tour and extends his run of winning seasons to four – in which time he has won seven times.

It also serves as perfect preparation for September when the Ryder Cup will come to Le Golf National, with Noren hopeful of making his debut in the biennial spectacular.

“If I would be on the team it would mean a lot,” he added. “You get good memories from here. The first two years I came here I thought I could never win around here and the last three years I’ve had good results. It helps a lot.”

Suri set up a tap-in for birdie with a wonderful tee-shot on the second and then took advantage of the par five third before handing a shot back on the next.

Wood got in real trouble on the third, finding the thick rough off the tee and failing to get out of it before playing a poor chip over the back of the green for a double-bogey.

With Kinhult birdieing from six feet on the same hole, he led by four, but a triple-bogey on the next after finding rough off the tee and sending his third onto a cart-path brought him back to the pack.

Five of the Best – HNA Open de France (Day 4)

Kinhult would then make eight pars in a row and Suri was the first man to join him at the top, putting his second from 251 yards to three feet on the par five ninth for a spectacular eagle, and holing from four feet on the tenth.

At that point, Noren was still three shots off the lead after a tee-shot to tap-in range on the second and approaches to inside ten feet on the fifth and 12th to go with a bogey on the fourth.

Wood got on the ninth in two and holed from eight feet on the tenth to join the lead himself and while Suri edged ahead on the 14th, he gave the shot straight back on the next.

Noren’s tee-shot on the 16th left him five feet for birdie and when he holed a long putt on the next to bring a big celebration, he was the leader in the clubhouse.

Suri’s double-bogey on the last left Wood as Noren’s only competition but the 30 year old failed to get up and down after missing the green on the 15th and 17th to hand Noren the title.

Shots of the Week – HNA Open de France

Knox was bogey-free in signing for a 65 with birdies on the fifth, eighth, ninth, tenth, 11th and 14th.

Kinhult bogeyed the 13th and made a double on the 15th to drop back, while Southgate surged through the field with birdies on the first, third, fourth, eighth, ninth, 14th and 17th but dropped a shot on the penultimate hole.

Rahm was tied for lead but triple-bogeyed the 12th and, while a birdie on the 16th gave him hope, he found the water on the last.

Jon Rahm on day 3 at the HNA Open de France (Photo by Emmanuel Lupe)

Garcia did well to recover from a triple-bogey on the first after twice going in the water but he double-bogeyed the last after again hitting the lake in a 74.

Campillo had one bogey and six birdies in a 66, while Björk signed for a 70 and Thomas carded a 71.

Photos copyright courtesy of the European Tour and Emmanuel Lupe.

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