Home player Alex Noren fired a closing round of 71 to win the Nordea Masters at PGA Sweden National in Malmo by four shots from Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.
In challenging, windy conditions, Noren held the field at bay on the final day. After opening with a birdie then a bogey, Noren reeled off 15 consecutive pars to give those in the chasing pack little hope of catching the Swede.
Germany’s Max Kieffer began the day just two off the pace and a birdie on the first hole kept him in the hunt. But consecutive double bogeys at the 4th and 5th holes halted him in his tracks and he was unable to recover. The 24-year-old had to settle for a share of third place with Jens Danthorp of Sweden and France’s Alexander Levy.
A birdie on the final hole sealed the victory for Noren. It was the second time he has won this event: he also triumphed in 2011.
Four things we learned at the Nordea Masters:
1. Alex Noren began this year on a medical exemption on the European Tour, having suffered from tendonitis in both wrists. But the 32-year-old has now, with this victory, earned an exemption on the circuit to the end of 2017. He’s made the cut in all 12 events he’s played in this year, has climbed to 10th place on the Race to Dubai rankings and is now up to the 70th spot on the Official World Golf Ranking. It’s a pretty incredible comeback for a man who started the year at 653rd on that list.
“You have to enjoy the good days in this game because you have plenty of bad ones,” he said.
2. Soren Kjeldsen continued his good run of play. The Dane won last week’s Irish Open at Royal County Down and he followed that victory up with a runner’s-up finish in Malmo. He too is enjoying a swift climb up the Official World Golf Ranking. The 40-year-old began the year in 335th spot, moved to 105th after his win last week, and is now up to 80th.
“I didn’t quite know how to react after last week and I wasn’t sure how much it took out of me,” he said. “But I was very pleased with the way I played.”
3. Henrik Stenson was a strong favourite coming into this event but could do no better than a tie for 13th. The World Number 5 was still within a shout at the start of the final round, just five strokes behind his countryman Alex Noren. But the Swede couldn’t get it going on Sunday. He limped in with a disappointing 74 and is left still seeking a first victory in his home event.
4. Two American players made the cut in Malmo. John Hahn ended the week in a tie for 24th while Daniel Woltman from Wisconsin finished the tournament in a tie for 60th place. It looked like being a good deal better for Woltman. When he eagled the first hole of his third round, he reached seven-under-par for the tournament, just a couple of shots off the lead. But, unfortunately, he dropped 10 shots over the next 35 holes to fall right back down the board: A learning experience for the 28-year-old rookie.