Alex Noren has been in a groove all season, winning three times on the European Tour before this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. He popped out of that groove on Saturday at Gary Player Country Club, shooting a 3-over 75 that left him six shots back of the 54-hole lead. [restrict]
Well, Noren found that groove again, and he did it quickly.
Noren shot 9-under 63 on Sunday to turn a six-shot deficit into a six-shot win, pulling away from South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, who closed with 3-over 75 in search of a third European Tour win this season.
The 30-year-old made up ground quickly, deftly placing his approach shots in positions to give himself makeable birdie and eagle bids.
“All I was trying to do was hit the right shots at the right pieces of the green and putt uphill, and then not make too many bogeys,” Noren said. “Because around here, I think you’ve got a few birdie chances.”
He converted early and often, getting to 8 under par on the round with an eagle at the 10th hole. From there, he played the rest of the way in 1 over par, as Wang stumbled further.
Now Noren is third in the tour’s Race to Dubai points standings with one final event, the DP World Tour Championship, left. He trails points leader Henrik Stenson by approximately 633,000 points, a margin that the younger Swede could make up over the Swedish-born Open champion.
With just 60 players in the season-ending tournament, Noren will struggle to pace himself apart from Stenson, second-ranked Danny Willett and fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy to make win the season-long points race. Stenson and McIlroy, in particular, have tremendous records in the European Tour’s season finale. [/restrict]