Alex Noren finishes fast to snatch French Open title

Swede took the title with a final round 67 while Shane Lowry was the best of the Irish

Alex Noren holds the trophy after winning the HNA Open de France on the European Tour. Photo: Lucas Barioulet/Getty Images

Alex Noren holds the trophy after winning the HNA Open de France on the European Tour. Photo: Lucas Barioulet/Getty Images

 

Alex Noren will turn his attention to the Open Championship after staging a remarkable fightback to claim the HNA Open de France title.

Going into Sunday’s final round, the Swede found himself seven shots off the lead, but birdies at the 16th and 17th holes helped him card a 67 to set a target of seven-under-par which ultimately proved beyond the field at Le Golf National in Paris.

That completed a 10-under-par weekend for Noren, who saw American Julian Suri’s challenge dissolve when he found water with his second at the 18th and emerged with a double-bogey six.

He told Sky Sports: “On a course like this, anything can happen and I was just trying to get to six, seven, eight under. I thought that could get you into a play-off.

“The feeling of the birdie on 17, I really wanted that. You always want that and finally, I made one of those when it really matters.

“It’s unbelievable. I never thought I was going to win. It’s a tricky golf course. The first two days were really tough for me and I played a lot better on the weekend.

“It’s not the way you want to see your opponent come in, but we all fight our there and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I feel very happy right now.”

Shane Lowry was the best of the Irish as he carded a final round of 70 to finish tied for 16th at two under par and claim 90,860 much-needed Race to Dubai points.

Five birdies on the final day for the Offalyman were a welcome return although a double bogey and two bogeys will have hurt a little.

For Paul Dunne it was a level par round of 71 to finish in a tie for 21st at one under par while Graeme McDowell shot 72 to tie for 37th at three over.

Noren’s second Rolex Series title could hardly be better timed with the Open less than three weeks away.

He said: “The Open has been the best major for me result-wise. I’m going to have a week and a half of good practice and see what I can do.”

Overnight leader Marcus Kinhult endured a difficult day as he shot a 76, which included a seven at the fourth, to slip out of contention.

It was Scotland’s Russell Knox who took up the challenge, posting a 65 to get to six under, where he finished in a tie for second along with Suri and England’s Chris Wood.

Wood’s compatriot Matthew Southgate’s 65 took him to within a shot of the trio along with Kinhult and Spaniard Jon Rahm.

However, Sergio Garcia’s hopes effectively evaporated after a seven on the first and although he recovered his composure to claim five birdies, three bogeys and a double at the last left him in a tie for eighth on four under.

If Knox, Suri and Kinult missed out on the big prize, they were at least able to console themselves with qualification for the Open.

Collated final round scores in the HNA Open de France, Le Golf National, France (Briatain unless stated, Irish in bold, par 71):

277 Alex Noren (Swe) 73 72 65 67

278 Chris Wood 70 68 67 73, Julian Suri (USA) 70 70 69 69, Russell Knox 71 70 72 65

279 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 71 65 67 76, Jon Rahm (Spa) 70 69 68 72, Matthew Southgate 71 73 70 65

280 Justin Thomas (USA) 70 70 69 71, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 72 70 64 74, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 73 69 68 70, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 73 71 70 66

281 Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 71 69 68, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 74 70 66 71, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 71 71 68, Henric Sturehed (Swe) 75 68 71 67

282 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 77 69 68 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 70 75 67 70, Tyrrell Hatton 74 67 71 70, Thomas Detry (Bel) 74 69 69 70, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 76 68 72 66

283 Haotong Lie (Chn) 71 73 72 67, Andy Sullivan 68 75 72 68, Paul Dunne (Irl) 74 67 71 71, Ian Poulter 72 74 68 69, Jordan Smith 71 70 71 71, Ashley Chesters 73 72 70 68

284 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 76 69 71 68, David Horsey 75 71 68 70, Pedro Oriol (Spa) 71 70 70 73, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69 72 72

285 Ricardo Gouveia (Prt) 71 74 69 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 77 68 70 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 73 73 70, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 74 72 71 68

286 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 72 69 71 74, Sam Brazel (Aus) 73 72 73 68

287 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 71 74 71 71, Steven Brown 77 68 73 69, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 68 77 70 72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 74 69 71 73, Austin Connelly (Can) 72 71 74 70, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 75 68 72 72, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 74 72 72 69

288 Scott Hend (Aus) 75 69 72 72, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 72 71 73 72, George Coetzee (Rsa) 74 70 77 67, Bradley Dredge 67 72 75 74, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 74 71 70 73

289 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 72 73 72, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 71 74 72 72, James Morrison 70 74 71 74, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 70 77 72

290 Jamie Donaldson 71 75 76 68, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 74 68 79 69, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 74 67 74 75

291 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 69 74 76 72, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 72 74 73 72, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 71 75 70 75

292 Stephen Gallacher 74 71 75 72

293 Richard Bland 72 72 76 73

294 Brett Rumford (Aus) 71 75 75 73, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 76 66 82 70, Josh Geary (Nzl) 73 73 75 73, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 76 69 80 69

297 Alexander Levy (Fra) 73 73 73 78

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