The Swede, Alex Noren, won the second tournament of his career at the age of 28, when he picked up the Saab Wales Open at Celtic Manor, eventually winning by two shots from the Dane Anders Hansen and the Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.
Noren has been tipped by many to be a big star in the game, even since he turned professional; but one win up until this point, in Switzerland, was a poor return for his early promise. And, even his win in Switzerland came somewhat fortuitously, after he holed a bunker shot, four holes from the end.
But now, it seems like he is maturing into the sort of talent many expected. His second win came in the same week he qualified for the US Open, and he will tee it up in his first major on American soil, in 11 days time.
Noren’s 9-under par 275 earned him a cheque for Euro 344,358; and today he is due to tee it up in the 36-hole Open qualifier, at Sunningdale.
“My driving has been the best its ever been,” he said afterwards. “Up until now I never really believed I could do well on tough courses, but now we play them all the time. I’ve proved to myself I can hit a lot of greens [in regulation] and not just rely on my short game.
The Swede will be hoping he can follow Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell’s example from last year. McDowell followed up his victory at Celtic Manor in 2010, by winning his first major, at Pebble Beach, two week later.
Defending his title, McDowell looked as though he might be in with a shout at the halfway stage, when he was only a shot behind Noren. An horrific third round 81 on Saturday however, put him well off the pace, and even a 71 on Sunday could only put him in 30th position.
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