Alex Noren carded a course record 62 on the final day to win the title
Noren came from seven shots behind on the last day to jump to the head of the leader board with a 10-under par 62 – a new course record – which landed him a cheque for £894,000 and a place in the world’s top 10.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari came closest getting to within two shots thanks to two birdies in the last two holes but it was too little too late to overhaul Noren, who had had his feet up in the clubhouse.
And there was a three-way tie for third with Nicolas Colsaerts, from Belgium, Open champion Henrik Stenson and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara finishing on eight-under par but the highest ranked Englishman was Graeme Storm who finished in a tie for sixth alongside Ireland’s Shane Lowry.
At the end of a week when British hopes were high of landing the European Tour’s flagship event it was an unheralded 34-year-old from Stockholm who took the honours but quite why he is so unheralded is one of golf’s mysteries. He is one of the tour’s most prolific winners of recent times and won’t be the sport’s biggest secret if he carries on like this.
Alex Noren was left frustrated with his game after Saturday
I came off the course angry on Saturday after chipping into the water at the 18th
Noren quietly jumped over 100 places on the rankings last year – he won four times on the European Tour – and was described by one American magazine as the highest ranked golfer in the world who followers of golf didn’t know. But European golf fans should know all about him when next year’s Ryder Cup match against the United States arrives in Paris in 2018.
Noren’s round which included eight birdies and an eagle at the last finished two hours before the overnight leaders came in but no-one mounted a serious challenge but he thought victory was off the agenda after double bogeying the 18th on Saturday.
He said: “I didn’t even think about it. I came off the course angry on Saturday after chipping into the water at the 18th – but I holed so many putts and that gives you so much confidence and everything seems possible.”
As the English challenge, which was led by Lee Westwood after three rounds faded, Noren produced the best golf of the week putting together eight birdies and an eagle and no-one could live with him.
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10. Henrik Stenson – Total earnings: $13.9m including $8.9m in prize money
Westwood, who started the day three off the lead, had a double bogey six at the par-4 7th hole and another dropped shot on the 13th put paid to his chances and his 24th attempt at winning this tournament ended in another blank.
Storm, who had opened with a 68, before two mediocre rounds, rallied with another 68 whilst Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick shared 12th place on five-under after shooting 66 and 67 respectively.
But Ian Poulter’s hopes of qualifying for next month’s US Open automatically from this event by getting into the top 60 in the world with a high finish were dashed by his putter. He did manage a two-under 70 to close but was languishing in a tie for 40th spot and his place in the season’s second major is still on hold.