Eagle from bunker gives Noren first European Tour title

The second man who ever walked on the lunar surface may have been in the galleries but it was Sweden’s Alexander Noren who was over the moon at the Omega European Masters in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland.

Noren, being watched by former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin, shot a five-under-par 66 in the final round for total of 20-under 264 to claim his maiden victory on the European Tour.

Aided by eagle on the 15th hole from a bunker shot, Noren was able to hold off 2006 winner Bradley Dredge, of Wales, by two strokes. Dredge shot 65 in his closing round, the same as England’s Ross McGowan, who finished third on 267.

It was a good tournament for Asian players with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee finishing fifth on 270, one stroke behind Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez while Filipino Angel Que was tied for seventh on 272 with Simon Dyson, David Howell and Rory McIlroy.

The tournament was also the first qualifier for next year’s Ryder Cup and Noren’s victory put him in first place. He said on the European Tour website:

“I was so happy when that bunker shot went in. I’ve never felt this good about my game, and to win was just brilliant. (As for the Ryder Cup race), I will just have to stay there!”

On the LPGA Tour, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen won her first tournament in two years when she swept to a convincing victory at the Canadian Open in Calgary.

Pettersen closed with a one-under 70 for a total of 15-under 269 and a five-stroke victory over a group of five rivals – Momoko Ueda, Morgan Pressel, Ai Miyazato, Angela Standford and Karrie Webb.

Since her last victory on the Tour in October 2007, Pettersen had gone more than 40 tournaments without winning, notching up six runner-up places. This included a play-off loss at last week’s event in Portland.

Meanwhile, three players were tied for the lead after the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.

South African Retief Goosen and Americans Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair were on 13-under-par 200 with one round remaining to play of the US PGA Tour event.

Goosen shot three-under 68 and O’Hair managed 70 but the round of the day belonged to Stricker, who carded six-under-par 65 to take a share of the lead.

However, there are plenty of challengers ready to take them on in the final round with nine golfers within three shots of the leaders.

Leading the chase are two-time British Open winner Padraig Harrington, of Ireland, Scott Verplank and Kevin Na, all three on 201.

Harrington put himself in contention with a third round of 67 while Na had 66 and Verplank shot 68.

Jerry Kelly and Kevin Sutherland were on 202 while Jason Dufner, John Senden, Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk were bunched together at 203 for a share of ninth.

World number one Tiger Woods and FedEx Cup leader was a distant nine strokes behind on 209 after his third round of 72.

The top 70 players from this tournament go on to the next event in the FedEx Cup series, which is this week’s BMW Championship in Lemont, Illinois.

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