Alex Noren takes BMW PGA Championship with historic round of 62
It was quite a Sunday run from one of the hidden gems on the European Tour
Alex Noren, despite being ranked in the top 20 in the world for most of the last year, is a great unknown for most golf fans. He had one of the hottest runs on any tour in recent memory last year when he won the Scottish Open, European Masters, British Masters and Nedbank Golf Challenge over the course of five months. On Sunday, he won the crown jewel of the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship.
And Noren did it as dramatically as it could have been done. He shot a final round of 62 with an eagle at the final hole for the two-stroke win over Francesco Molinari. Noren joined Simon Kahn and Rory McIlroy as the only golfers to overcome a seven-stroke deficit on the final day at Wentworth.
"It feels very amazing and very crazy, because I had no intention of trying to win this morning," Noren said, who finished hours before the final groups came through. "You know, I didn't even think about it, and I came off the course quite angry yesterday of playing a good round, 2-under, and then kind of chipping into the water from the back of the green on 18.
"I thought after the birdie on 12, I thought, you know, it was going very well. You always try to get in that zone that everybody talks about, when you've got some adrenaline mixed with focus, and that's what I tried to get into. And after the birdie there, you start forgetting about this and that; that feels wrong. You just need to get it done today. That's no tomorrow, kind of feeling. Whatever way works."
What worked was three more birdies and an eagle coming home after that birdie on the 12th hole. He shot 31 on both sides on Sunday and captured the biggest win of his career. As for that eagle? It might have been the shot of the year thus far on the European Tour. There was a twinge of Rory McIlroy at the 2016 Irish Open in it.
"Today I had a good yardage," Noren said. "I knew a 5-iron would carry the front and I couldn't hit it over the green, even if I tried. That kind of gives you a lot of confidence in a shot.
"So when I stood over the ball, I knew if I just catch it pretty good and don't hook it, I'll be all right. Then it came off really nice and straight at the flag, but when you get all the numbers right and the wind is right, it gives you a lot of confidence, and you have a very clear picture in your mind what you want to do, yeah. But it was still very nervous, yeah."
Noren played with fellow Oklahoma State Cowboy Peter Uihlein in his final, round who noted that it was probably the best round he's ever seen.
"I think this tournament in my mind compares a lot with a major," Noren said, who has played more on the PGA Tour this season. "You know, the only thing I've tried to do is ... play better against a better field and better courses, tougher courses. And I view this as a very difficult course against a very tough field.
"So then this is very close to a major in my mind. So my confidence goes up. It's just work towards your goals and trying to kind of improve on my weaknesses and improve on my strengths, and trying to figure out where I'm losing shots, where I'm gaining shots."
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