Alexander Noren holds aloft the PGA Championship trophy on Sunday. Photo: Paul Childs, Action Images via Reuters

VIRGINIA WATER, England – A barnstorming 10-under-par 62 propelled Swede Alexander Noren to a course record as he romped to a come-from-behind two-stroke victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.

The World No 13, who started the final round of the European Tour’s flagship event seven shots off the pace, galloped through the field with four birdies on the front nine.

Noren also blitzed his way to a birdie hat-trick from the 12th. He picked up another stroke at the 16th, and then delivered a majestic five-iron approach to four feet on the last before sparking huge roars from the crowd by sinking his putt for an eagle three.

“That was probably my best ever,” the 34-year-old said of a round that secured the biggest victory of his career. “It’s a tough course mentally coming down the stretch.

“It’s not super narrow, but it’s just if you hit it a little bit wayward it can cost you, and I putted probably the best I’ve ever putted,” added Noren after finishing with an 11-under total of 277.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari (68) took second place on 279, one ahead of Swede Henrik Stenson (68), at No 5 the highest-ranked player in the field, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (65) and Hideto Tanihara of Japan (68).

Scores tumbled on Sunday as the strong winds of Friday and Saturday gave way to calm conditions and plenty of rounds in the mid-60s on a course that had a multi-million-dollar revamp following last year’s tournament.

The day began in bright sunshine before the weather suddenly turned midway through the afternoon, forcing the later starters to contend with driving rain.

Noren, who had four victories in a spectacular season last year, picked up a cheque for $1.16 million (about R14.92 million) as he claimed his ninth tour win.

“This is probably the happiest moment ever,” said the red-hot Swede after earning his fifth tour victory in 17 appearances. “I wasn’t thinking much of the deficit, I was just trying to play a good round of golf.

“I felt I had a lot of adrenaline the whole round. It’s a nice feeling to have.”

Noren is third on the all-time list of Swedish winners in Europe, behind Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who both have 11.

South African Branden Grace, the joint overnight leader alongside Andrew Dodt of Australia, saw his victory hopes disappear when he trailed Noren by two shots with seven holes remaining.

Branden Grace was in the hunt for the title until the last few holes. Photo: Paul Childs, Action Images via Reuters


Evoking memories of Frenchman Jean van de Velde’s infamous collapse in the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, World No 26 Grace tried to hack his ball out of a ditch, but plunged to a double-bogey seven after leaving it in the water.

Grace shot a 73 to be tied for ninth on 6-under-par, alongside fellow South African Dean Burmester, who made an early charge after shooting 65 on Sunday.

Jaco van Zyl finished on 4-under and Ernie Els on 3-over-par.

Reuters, Staff Writer

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