Sweden’s Alex Noren put last year’s injury misery firmly behind him after cruising to his second Nordea Masters title at a windswept PGA Sweden National in Malmo.
Noren carded a closing 71 to finish 12 under par, four shots ahead of Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, who ended his own winless drought of six years with victory in the Irish Open last week.
Noren played just two tournaments in 2014 due to tendonitis in both wrists, but was second in the Dubai Desert Classic in February and eighth in the BMW PGA Championship a fortnight ago.
“It’s very very pleasing,” said the 32-year-old. “I’ve been pretty nervous all day and it was so tough the last two days I just want to relax now a little bit. It was pretty much the toughest weekend I’ve ever felt. When you are in the lead especially you think a lot and it was so tough.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 7, 2015
“I wasn’t too confident going into the week because I’ve had a tough time in the wind lately and here you have to hit all the shots to get around, but it got better as the week went on.
“Last year this moment seemed a very, very long way off and even when I got back playing just before Christmas I didn’t play very well. “Then something clicked in the early part of this year and it felt a lot better. Now it feels very nice.”
Noren took a two-shot lead into the final round and never looked like being caught in the tough conditions despite a bogey on the second cutting his advantage in half.
Playing partner Max Kieffer had matched Noren’s birdie on the first but then ran up a double bogey on the fourth, where his tee shot hit a male spectator on the head, and also double-bogeyed the next after his second shot caught the lip of a fairway bunker.
— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) June 7, 2015
That left Noren four shots clear of the chasing pack and although Sebastian Soderberg and then Kjeldsen got within three, Noren reeled off 15 straight pars before a birdie on the last sealed a fourth European Tour title in the same event which provided his third in 2011.
Kjeldsen thrived in the windy conditions for the second week running and said: “I didn’t quite know how to react after last week and I wasn’t sure how much it took out of me, but my caddie helped a lot and on Tuesday lunchtime we said it’s time to get back to work.
“I felt very calm all day, even on the last few holes. It was by far the toughest day today. Alex is an incredible player and I’m very pleased for him winning in his home country.”
Soderberg dropped shots on the 15th and 18th to finish in a tie for third with Kieffer, Alexander Levy and Jens Dantorp, with world No4 Henrik Stenson another two shots back after a disappointing 74.
Kieffer admitted he was affected by the incident on the fourth, adding: “I struggled to handle that to be honest. I three-putted that hole and made double bogey on the next, which was one of the easiest holes today.
“It was tough to come back from that but I hung in there and I heard the guy is okay so that’s the main thing.”
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