Open de France: Alex Noren comes back from seven behind to win
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 01/07/18 6:38pm
Alex Noren secured his 10th European Tour title with a one-shot victory in a thrilling final round at the Open de France.
Noren started Sunday seven strokes off the pace but fired a four-under 67 at Le Golf National to set the clubhouse target at seven under, as the leaders saw their challenge fade over the closing holes.
Chris Wood led until two bogeys over his final four holes saw him finish a shot back alongside Russell Knox and Julian Suri, who also held a share of the advantage until a final-hole double-bogey.
"It's unbelievable, I never thought I was going to win," Noren told Sky Sports. "It's a tricky golf course and the first two days were tough for me, but I played a lot better over the weekend."
The Swede posted a close-range birdie at the second and cancelled out a bogey at the fourth by firing to four feet and picking up a shot at the next, before ending a run of pars around the turn with a gain at the 12th.
Noren posted back-to-back birdies from the 16th and made a two-putt par at the last, but was still a shot back from Wood and Suri when he finished his round.
Wood had recovered from an early double-bogey at the third to card successive gains around the turn and get to eight under, only to lose his lead by failing to get up-and-down off the 15th green and missing from six feet to save par at the 17th.
Suri found the water with his approach into the 18th to close a two-under 68, but joined Knox and overnight leader Marcus Kinhult in securing qualification for The Open as the leading players not already exempt for Carnoustie.
Kinhult entered the day with a two-shot lead and was briefly four clear until he stuttered to a closing 76 and tied-fifth finish, leaving Noren to claim his first victory since the 2017 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Spanish duo Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm both threatened during the final day until they both found water at the last to finish two and three strokes back respectively, with world No 2 Justin Thomas also in the group on four under after a final-round 71.