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Near miss for Scott Hend at Omega European Masters

Alexander Noren a two time winner in Crans (Photo: Getty Images)
Sweden's Alex Noren claimed his second European Tour victory of the season and the second Omega European Masters title of his career after overcoming Australia’s Scott Hend on the first play-off hole in Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

The 34 year old began the day one shot behind his playing partner Hend but was at one stage of the day two shots clear following a superb five under front nine. A bogey at the 17th and a five under 65, however, meant he finished tied at the top with Hend on 17 under par after regulation play.

A wayward drive on the first extra hole meant Hend had it all to do, but a miraculous second shot from the trees left him just off the green before he chipped to six feet to apply the pressure.

But, from 30 feet and to the delight of the Swiss crowds, Noren duly sank his birdie putt to clinch a sixth career European Tour victory, which moved him to eighth in the Race to Dubai and on course for the best campaign of his career.

“It sounds unbelievable (to be a second time Omega European Masters winner),” said Noren. “I’m coming off a three-week vacation and trying to get the game in shape and it got into shape quite quickly so it is fantastic. There were a tough couple of guys hunting me today but I’m happy I won.

“It feels amazing to be among Seve Ballesteros and Thomas Bjørn to win two Omega European Masters titles. I’ve seen the boards showing who won multiple Omega European Masters title walking to the course so it is great.

“I’ve worked hard this season. I tried to play more golf and I feel steadier with my driver. My driver hasn’t been my good side but now it is steadier. It is great to have my family here, my baby and my parents here for the first time.

“I’ve never won coming from behind or won in a play-off on the European Tour so that makes it more amazing.

“We both (Scott Hend) played well, and Richard Bland too except for the last hole. It is easier that way when we push each other. It is so tricky around here and you can three putt from anywhere. It has been a fantastic year. I didn’t think it will be such a good year. I took some time after having a baby and trained hard after that.”

Hend was classy in defeat. “I think Alex played the 18th hole way better than I did and made an awesome birdie for a deserving win,” said the Quenslander. “It wasn’t a daunting tee shot on the last. It is just like any other tee shot. You just need to stand there and hit it. I was unable to hit the shot I wanted yesterday and today, twice.

“He (Alex) played fantastic golf today but I didn’t play quite well enough. That’s golf. You can’t complain when you get into position to win but somebody makes a great birdie on the play-off hole to win.”

Richard Green, who lead after the opening round, was the next best of the Australians when 24th and Marcus Fraser 36th.

Leading scores

263 A Noren  (Swe) 69 63 66 65, S Hend (Aus) 65 67 65 66, 

266 A Johnston (Eng) 65 68 68 65, 

268 L Westwood (Eng) 72 66 67 63, 

269 R Bland (Eng) 67 64 69 69, J Quesne  (Fra) 65 68 71 65, 

270 M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 75 65 66 64, R Langasque  (Fra) 68 63 70 69, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 68 66 65, R Paratore (Ita) 75 63 67 65, F Fritsch  (Ger) 67 69 66 68, 

271 M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 64 73 67 67, O Fisher  (Eng) 70 69 69 63, D Willett  (Eng) 65 72 70 64, M Ilonen  (Fin) 66 67 68 70, R Jacquelin (Fra) 69 69 67 66, D Drysdale (Sco) 70 68 64 69, 

272 J Hansen  (Den) 65 68 70 69, A Wall (Eng) 66 73 65 68, L Haotong (Chn) 65 70 68 69, A Levy (Fra) 68 67 68 69, G Coetzee (RSA) 70 69 67 66, J Morrison  (Eng) 65 70 68 69, 

273 R Green (Aus) 65 66 71 71, M Jiménez (Esp) 67 68 71 67, N Colsaerts  (Bel) 69 67 72 65, F Zanotti (Par) 71 66 70 66, A Cañizares  (Esp) 69 64 68 72, 

274 T Jaidee (Tha) 72 68 70 64, M Carlsson  (Swe) 70 69 65 70, D Howell (Eng) 67 68 70 69, R Lee (Can) 67 65 75 67, R Rock (Eng) 67 68 71 68, N Bertasio (Ita) 66 71 67 70, 

275 D Brooks (Eng) 64 73 72 66, 276 M Fraser (Aus) 65 69 69 73, G Storm  (Eng) 66 69 68 73, G Bourdy (Fra) 72 68 68 68, B Hebert  (Fra) 72 68 68 68, R Karlberg  (Swe) 68 72 69 67, 

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