Noren cruises to title in windy Sweden|
Stockholm, Sweden (Sports Network) - Alexander Noren had only one opponent on
Sunday: the record book.
Unfortunately for Noren, windy conditions on Sunday at the Nordea Masters gave
the record book a huge advantage, and the 29-year-old had to settle for his
second win in 2011.
Noren, who led by 11 at the beginning of the day, battled the conditions and
managed only a five-over 77 on Sunday, but still won the tournament by seven
strokes with a score of 15-under 273.
"I've never seen wind like this in Sweden," Noren said. "Every hole was super
Coming into Sunday, Noren had a shot at several records, including margin of
victory and low 72 holes under par. Noren had difficulty all day breaking par,
let alone tying or breaking Saturday's course-record 63.
Still, Noren posted his second win in six events -- the third win of his
career -- and became the fifth Swede this event in his home country.
"It's even more amazing at home," Noren said. "Everyone's cheering you on, and
you don't really feel that somewhere else. You see some friendly faces in the
crowd, and it's unbelievable."
To illustrate how big Noren's lead was, runner-up Richard Finch posted the
lone round under par, a three-under 69 to shed eight strokes off his deficit
at the outset of the round. Still, he finished seven shots behind at eight-
under 280 for his best finish of the year.
Finch didn't drop a shot on Sunday until a triple-bogey at the dreaded island
green at 17, which plagued the field all day with the weather conditions.
Steve Webster shot an 11 there on Sunday, while Fredrik Andersson Hed posted a
Niklas Lemke took third at five-under 283 after shooting a one-over 73 on
Sunday -- a good score when compared to the rest of the field. Scott Hend (74)
and Pablo Martin (74) shared fourth at minus-four.
The day belonged to Noren, whose only challenge was the 17th, where several
golfers had double-digit scores.
"It's a relief," Noren said of the win. "The only thing I thought of all day
was the 17th. It doesn't matter how I play after that, I just have to survive
17, and I did, and it was amazing."
He began with a birdie to get thoughts going of records, but finished with
four bogeys through the rest of the front nine. Noren could afford to give
away the shots and still held a sizeable margin coming down the stretch.
Noren parred the first four holes of the back nine before seemingly catching a
break at 14, where his tee shot landed in the bushes just beyond the cart
path. After a drop on the cart path, the ball bounced well down the pavement
and into the rough beyond the trees.
However, Noren still stumbled to a double-bogey, leaving him a mere seven
shots ahead of Finch.
After another bogey at 16, Noren headed to the 17th ahead by six, but he left
the excitement for another week by placing the tee shot square onto the green.
Noren had a routine par after the tee shot, and his approach on the last
landed six feet from the pin. He finished with a closing birdie to win the
tournament in style.
NOTES: Only 15 players finished under par...Noren moved into the top 70 in the
world rankings and the top 10 in The Race to Dubai...Victor Dubuisson had the
second-best round of the day at even-par 72. He finished at one-under
overall...The European Tour heads to Ireland next week for the Irish Open,
where Ross Fisher beat Padraig Harrington by two strokes last year.
07/24 12:05:27 ET