Sweden’s Alex Noren turned in a solid final round performance under pressure to claim his second European Tour win at the Saab Wales Open. Noren, who led the field at halfway and by one shot heading into the final round produced a near flawless round of 70 to deny Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Denmark’s Anders Hansen by two shots.
Noren carded just two birdies and one bogey in a solid round of golf to complete a dream week for the Swede, which started with US Open qualification on Monday. However, despite his win at The Celtic Manor which saw him lift a winner’s cheque for €344,000 Noren is back in action on Monday once again – this time British Open qualifying at Sunningdale.
Gregory Bourdy came out of the pack to finish tied for second with a final round 67, while Hansen was one of a pair who started the day one behind Noren; the other being Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson. However, Hansen ‘s challenge suffered an early setback with a double-bogey as early as the second hole, and another bogey at the seventh saw the Dane turn 3-over and it appeared his chance had gone.
However, four birdies and one bogey on the homeward nine moved him back into contention should Noren have slipped up.
Peter Hanson finished one shot further back, in a four-way tie for fourth place. Also in the group were tipster pick Johan Edfors, who battled back to card a closing 69 after turning in 2-over par, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez.
Jamie Donaldson headed up the Welsh challenge, but not for the first time came unstuck when the pressure was on. Donaldson had been well placed to become the first home winner of the event, but was 3-over par through his first three holes and could never really get going to mount a serious challenge on the lead.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell recovered from the disastrous 81 he suffered in round three to card a level-par 71 in his closing round to close in a tie for 30th place, while young Frenchman Victor Dubuisson had been hovering around the leaders for each of the three preceding days but slumped to a closing 80 to finish tied in 34th place.
Scot Elliot Saltman, who had holed-in-one at the 17th hole earlier in the week, repeated the feat again in his final round 69. It left the Scot – who has been plagued with cheat claims and recently served a 3-month ban from the game – tied for 12th place on 4-under par.