Swede Noren moves to fourth in Race to Dubai

Wins third European Tour title in eight events

Sweden’s Alex Noren claimed the British Masters at The Grove, Watford, London, for his third European Tour title in his last eight events.

In the process, he gained 553,970 points to move from ninth place to fourth in the Race to Dubai rankings to overtake last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner, England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

The 34-year-old Noren now has his sights set on taking the Race to Dubai top spot from reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett of England with four weeks to go before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20, with more points up for grabs.

The victorious Noren said after his win: “I believe in myself, but the big thing is, you don’t have to play a perfect game, you just need a few parts of your game to be strong. My putting was probably the best part of my game this week. I holed a lot of putts. My chipping and wedge game was a lot better, so that helped me out. Maybe my driving wasn’t the best but I didn’t lose that much ground on it. The players I play with, like England’s Andrew Johnston, Beef, he hits the driver incredibly. I’d love to hit the driver like he does.

“I try to stay humble. I know golf is a tough game. I’ll take any win but a win like this is great although I don’t want to look too far into the future. I love playing golf and that’s just how it should be. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I just try and find something that works and then play with it that day.

“I never thought I’d be as high as fourth on the Race to Dubai earlier this season. It’s crazy. I’ll take it though. I like the DP World Tour Championship as a tournament but I’ve not played great in it. Sixth is my best finish one year and the rest have not been so good. I love the course and atmosphere though and everyone around it. It’s an amazing tournament and it’s nice to be going into it with more form than I have in the past.”

Noren displayed his gritty determination for his hard-earned two-shot victory in difficult conditions.

Heavy rain overnight and during the morning of the final day left the greens flooded, which delayed the start of play.
The sun finally shone at mid-day and with a two-tee format fortunes changed throughout the day.

Noren seemed to be strolling to a comfortable win but the chasing pack began to close in as the Swede dropped shots after the turn.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger was on Noren’s tail briefly but missed a good birdie chance at the 16th and had to settle for second place with a 67 for 268 as Noren recovered to make two birdies in the last four holes for a 69 total 266.

England’s Lee Westwood made a late charge with back-to-back birdies but he stuttered on the 12th with a bogey and followed with missed birdie chances.

A run of four pars left him too far back and a closing birdie ensured third place on 15 under 269.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell could not build on his birdie-birdie start as missed putts left him with a 68 and a share of fourth place on 13 under 271 along with France’s Alexander Levy , Sweden’s Peter Hanson, and England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Richard Bland, with last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links winner Tyrell Hatton a further shot off the pace in a tie for ninth with Richard Sterne.

Wiesberger’s runner-up finish earned him 369,310 points in the Race to Dubai ranking and moved him from 23rd to 12th, increasing his season’s tally to 1,364,783.

Winner of the 2009 DP World Tour Championship, Westwood, claimed 208,071 points and broke into the Race to Dubai’s top 10, with total points of 1,587,381.

McDowell booked his place in the prestigious DP World Tour Championship, moving from 57th to 46th, upping his season-total to 571,621 points.

Levy moved from 31st to 27th, Hanson has edged closer to the qualifying top 60 after making a jump from 85th to 63rd, Fleetwood moved from 56th to 45th and Bland moved from 28th to 25th.

Master’s Champion Willett, who withdrew from the British Masters during the Pro-Am, remains in top spot with 3,543,175 points while 2013 and 2014 DP World Tour Championship winner Henrik Stenson of Sweden is currently in second place with 3,130,447 points.

Reigning DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai champion, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, sits in third place with 2,487,204 points.

Dubai Gazette