Sten­son backs Noren for ma­jor glory

New Straits Times - - Sport -

VIR­GINIA WA­TER (ENG­LAND): Bri­tish Open ti­tle holder Hen­rik Sten­son be­lieves new BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship win­ner Alexan­der Noren has all the cre­den­tials to be­come the sec­ond Swede to tri­umph in a men’s ma­jor.

Sten­son, who achieved his first vic­tory in a ‘Big Four’ tour­na­ment when he edged out Amer­i­can Phil Mick­el­son in a thrilling duel at Royal Troon last July, said his com­pa­triot’s ex­tra­or­di­nary tri­umph at Went­worth on Sun­day was fully de­served.

Noren started the fi­nal round seven strokes off the pace but bull­dozed his way through the pack with a clos­ing 10-un­der 62, a record for the re­vamped course.

“It would be hard not to say that you can’t see a ma­jor for him in the fu­ture if he keeps on play­ing like that,” Sten­son told re­porters af­ter he ended in a share of third spot.

“He’s played a bit more in Amer­ica. That’s a bit of a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, to take the game across the At­lantic and get fa­mil­iar with the cour­ses over there. He’s mak­ing progress, and yeah, he’s had a very im­pres­sive year.”

World No 13 Noren could move as high as eighth in the rank­ings af­ter a re­mark­able run of form that has seen him win five times in his last 17 Euro­pean Tour ap­pear­ances.

“He’s al­ways been a hard worker,” said the 41-year-old Sten­son at the con­clu­sion of the US$7 mil­lion (RM29.9 mil­lion) BMW PGA, the tour’s flag­ship event.

“Some­times maybe too much, he’s got in­jured a cou­ple of times over the years in his wrist.

“I think he’s kind of found his for­mula. He’s do­ing the same thing week in and week out and it’s ob­vi­ously work­ing. He’s play­ing a pretty strong cut off the tee and his putting has just been phe­nom­e­nal,” added Sten­son.

Noren said he now felt much more con­fi­dent with the driver in his hands.

“I never had a good game off the tee... I was al­ways quite wor­ried where the ball was head­ing and I couldn’t really play dif­fi­cult cour­ses well,” said the 34-year-old af­ter his 11-un­der to­tal gave him a twoshot win on Sun­day. Reuters

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