Sunday, July 01, 2018

Joint runner-up Russell Knox wins a 

place in the Open at Carnoustie


EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Alex Noren overturned a seven-shot deficit for the second time in Rolex Series event as he claimed the HNA Open de France title after a dramatic final day at Le Golf National.
Noren started the final round in a share of seventh place but moved serenely through the field with a closing 67, as Le Golf National hinted at some of the drama in store in September when it hosts The 2018 Ryder Cup.
Spanish stars Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, Ryder Cup player Chris Wood and American Julian Suri all had their chances to reel in overnight leader Marcus Kinhult, but each one, including Kinhult himself, gradually succumbed to the notoriously unforgiving Albatros Course, with Noren’s seven under par clubhouse target proving enough for his tenth European Tour title.
There was a certain sense of déjà vu for the 35 year old who also won the first Rolex Series event, the 2017 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, after coming back from seven shots back on the final day.
Noren’s compatriot Kinhult had held a two-shot overnight advantage from Ryder Cup player Wood, but his challenge gradually faded as the lead changed hands several times, with the 21 year old carding a triple bogey on the fourth and double bogey on the 15th in his round of 76.
Kinhult was not the only one to experience the true test posed by the Albatros, with Suri holding a one shot lead on the 18th fairway, but the American found the water with his approach to the island green, and went on to make a double bogey six for a round of 69.
That meant he slipped back into a share of second place on six under par, alongside Florida-based Russell Knox from Inverness. The Scot posted a fine bogey-free round of 65, and Wood, who threatened to force play-off before a bogey on the 17th hole proved one shot too many for the Englishman. 
Garcia and Rahm were also unable to sustain their challenges, with Garcia’s round of 74 bookended by double bogeys, after the 2017 Masters Champion found the water on the first and 18th holes.
He had to settle for a share of eighth place alongside World Number Two Justin Thomas (71) on four under par.
Garcia’s playing partner Rahm triple bogeyed the 12th en route to a one over par 72 as he finished tied fifth with Kinhult and Matthew Southgate, who matched Knox’s 65. Overnight leader Kinhult did have the consolation of claiming one of three spots in The Open Championship, with Suri and Knox also heading to Carnoustie later this month.
Player Quotes
Alex Noren: “This golf course, it's very tough but there are also birdies out there if you hit the greens and if you hit the fairways. It there's any golf course that's tough to be in the lead, it's probably this one, and coming from behind, I thought I needed to get to eight under to have a chance for a play-off but there are so many tough holes.
“It feels amazing. I've been close this year in America and then two shots off Francesco's (Molinari) win at Wentworth. When you're out there, you really want this win, and it felt unbelievable to get it today. It's what I was putting and practising for, maybe a play-off, it was unreal how it went, and I didn't expect that.
“Being in the lead, it's a different feeling, I learned that in the past. First time I was leading after three, I thought because I've been watching Tiger the whole time winning, and then I wasn't in the same league as him, so I lost it the first time I was in the lead. So you expect so much by being in the lead, and then now, you know, it's over 72 holes; it's not over 54 and trying to hold onto a win. So that's the approach I've had in the past, and with coming from behind, you obviously have nothing to lose. And it's easier also when you've done it before.
“If I would be on the team, it would mean a lot. You get good memories from here. The first two years I came here, I thought I could never win around here, and the last three years, I've had good results. I think all of us golfers work that way, we like places that we have played good on before.”
Russell Knox: “I'm tired now. I put a lot into that today. This course is a nerve-wracking course to play. A lot of high-stress holes. So I was really happy with my performance today.
“It's not too windy, so you can hit the centre of the face and you should avoid the disasters, but you never know. It's stressful. I was out a lot before the leaders, I knew I was feeling a little nervous so they are going to feel more so coming down with all the people. I've done what I can, I tried my best.”
Chris Wood: “I didn't play anywhere near my best today. Yeah, gutted, really. I've putted so well for six weeks now, just my long game's not been there. I needed to hole putts today. The greens were a little bit bumpy this afternoon. Didn't quite well enough probably to deserve to win, but nothing wrong with trying to steal one.
“I want to be feeling a little bit more comfortable with my game and being in positions like today, and I've not quite felt on my game for a while. And when you're trying to win this tournament around this course, you need to be.”
Justin Thomas: “If you told me at the start of the week, I would have four rounds under par or better, I would have been very pleased; so I am. Today didn't go how I would have wanted. I very easily could have won this golf tournament, which is frustrating, but it definitely wasn't a wasted trip. It's a great golf course, great city, town. I've enjoyed everything about this week.
“It sounds like for the most part they knew it was a narrow course and it was tough, and I'll just reiterate that to them. It's not like there's any ground-breaking stuff that I learned here. I definitely learned some stuff. It's all right in front of you. There's not any blind shots or anything like that. You just have to go out and execute.
FINAL TOTALS
par 284 (4x71)
277 A Noren (Swe) 73 72 65 67
278 R Knox (Sco) 71 70 72 65, C Wood (Eng) 70 68 67 73, J Suri (USA) 70 70 69 69
279 M Southgate (Eng) 71 73 70 65, M Kinhult (Swe) 71 65 67 76, J Rahm (Spn 70 69 68 72
280 A Björk (Swe) 73 69 68 70, J Thomas (USA) 70 70 69 71, J Campillo (Spn) 73 71 70 66, S Garcia (Spn) 72 70 64 74
281 W Ormsby (Australia) 73 71 69 68, D Frittelli (SAf) 71 71 71 68, H Sturehed (Swe) 75 68 71 67, A Otaegui (Spn) 74 70 66 71
282 T Detry (Bel) 74 69 69 70, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 77 69 68 68, S Lowry (Ire) 70 75 67 70, N Bertasio (Ita) 76 68 72 66, T Hatton (Eng) 74 67 71 70
283 P Dunne (Ire) 74 67 71 71, H Li (Chn) 71 73 72 67, I Poulter (Eng) 72 74 68 69, A Sullivan (Eng) 68 75 72 68, J Smith (Eng) 71 70 71 71, A Chesters (Eng) 73 72 70 68
284 S Sharma (India) 76 69 71 68, D Horsey (Eng) 75 71 68 70, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71 69 72 72, P Oriol (Spn) 71 70 70 73
285 R Sterne (SAf) 74 72 71 68, R Gouveia (Por)tugal 71 74 69 71, J Winther (Denmark) 77 68 70 70, T Pieters (Belgium) 69 73 73 70
286 S Brazel (Australia) 73 72 73 68, M Ilonen (Finland) 72 69 71 74
287 A Connelly (Canada) 72 71 74 70, S Brown (Eng) 77 68 73 69, G McDowell (NIre) 68 77 70 72, R Jacquelin (Fra) 75 68 72 72, F Aguilar (Chile) 71 74 71 71, M Schwab (Austria) 74 72 72 69, F Zanotti (Paraguay) 74 69 71 73
288 S Hend (Australia) 75 69 72 72, G Coetzee (SAf) 74 70 77 67, B Dredge (Wales) 67 72 75 74, R Fox (Nzl) 72 71 73 72, J Dantorp (Swe) 74 71 70 73
289 J Morrison (Eng) 70 74 71 74, P Khongwatmai (Thailand) 71 74 72 72, S Kjeldsen (Denmark) 72 72 73 72, G Havret (Fra) 70 70 77 72,
290 A Quiros (Spn) 74 67 74 75, N Elvira (Spn) 74 68 79 69, J Donaldson (Wales) 71 75 76 68
291 A Pavan (Ita) 72 74 73 72, H Tanihara (Jpn) 71 75 70 75, D Burmester (SAf) 69 74 76 72
292 S Gallacher (Sco) 74 71 75 72
293 R Bland (Eng) 72 72 76 73
294 J Kruyswijk (SAf) 76 69 80 69, B Rumford (Australia) 71 75 75 73, J Geary( NZ) 73 73 75 73, L Bjerregaard (Denmark) 76 66 82 70,
297 A Levy (Fra) 73 73 73 78

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