Keeping his nerve: Alex Noren edges Scott Hend in play-off to claim European Masters

Swede has strong final round, including four consecutive birdies, and then has another birdie putt to secure title

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 September, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 September, 2016, 12:15am

A nerveless Alex Noren continued his fine year by winning the European Masters on Sunday after pipping overnight leader Scott Hend to the title with a lengthy birdie putt on the first play-off hole.

Swede Noren, who had previously won the European Masters in 2009, started the final day one shot behind Hend, but overtook the Australian after a strong front nine, hitting four consecutive birdies.

They ended the regulation holes level on 17 under, and while Hend shot par in the first extra hole, Noren took the title with a superb 20-metre birdie putt for his second win of the season following his Scottish Open triumph in July.

Hend won the Hong Kong Open in 2014 and the Venetian Macao Open in 2013 and also last year.

“It’s unbelievable,” Noren told Sky Sports. “I didn’t really believe this coming into today, [I had a] tough couple of guys hunting me down.

“It’s tough to be in the front.”

Licking my chops: defending champion Scott Hend confirms tilt at US$1.1 million Macao Open

England’s Andrew Johnston returned to contention during a fine day’s golf to finish third on 14 under, while Lee Westwood ended fourth on 12 under, just ahead of his Ryder Cup teammate Matthew Fitzpatrick on 10 under.

Among the other members of Europe’s Ryder Cup contingent, defending champion and early leader Danny Willett finished 12th on nine under, having been 10 shots off the pace overnight, with Chris Wood 49th on two under. England’s Andy Sullivan missed the cut.