European Masters 2016
Round 4 - Alex Noren wins in a playoff
September 5, 2016
Alex Noren of Sweden sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat Scott Hend of Australia in a playoff for the European Masters title on Sunday.
Noren fired a 5-under round of 65 to be tied at 17 under with Hend, the overnight leader who carded a 66 on the Swiss Alps course.
Playing the par-four 18th hole again in the playoff, Hend left his third shot from the fringe of the green well short before Noren's no-doubter putt earned a 450,000 euros ($502,000) winner's prize.
''It was a really fun day,'' said Noren, who won his sixth European Tour title on the same Swiss Alps course where his first came in 2009.
In third place, Andrew ''Beef'' Johnston of England went 5 under on the inward nine holes to card a 65, trailing Noren and Hend by three.
Lee Westwood was the best of Europe's Ryder Cup players, firing a 7-under 63 to place fourth, five strokes back.
Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion defending his title here, shot a 64 to finish tied for 12th place at 9 under.
Noren, who is poised to rise from his No. 39 world ranking, also won in July at the Scottish Open and believes he can handle pressure better since his now six-month-old daughter was born.
''I have a baby girl now and that takes up a lot of my focus,'' said the 34-year-old Swede, whose family joined him in Switzerland this week. ''It's only golf. It's not my whole life anymore.''
Noren needed only 30 shots for the outward nine, then dropped his first stroke at the par-4 10th. Hend began a stretch of three birdies in four holes from the 12th to cut the Swede's lead to one shot.
A three-putt by Noren at the 17th gave Hend a chance, which the Australian almost wasted on the 18th by pulling his tee shot left into the trees. Hend saved par to force the playoff as rain started to fall for the first time all week.
On a standout day for Europe's Ryder Cup players, Westwood's round edged 64s for fellow Englishmen Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick, the runner-up here last year who finished at 10 under.
Westwood holed his own long putt on the 18th for a seventh birdie in a round with no dropped shots. Still, a first-round 72 on Thursday left the 1999 European Masters winner too far back to challenge.
''On the first day I was a bit rusty,'' Westwood acknowledged. ''I haven't played much golf for four weeks before coming here.''
Westwood and Willett plan to play one more tournament before the Ryder Cup starts Sept. 30 at Hazeltine, Minnesota. Both will take one week off, then return at the Italian Open, played Sept. 15-18 at Monza.
''I'm looking forward to another week off for practice and then to Italy,'' Willett said, after a round had begun with bogey-5s at the first two holes.
Round 3 - Scott Hend leads heading in to Sunday
September 4, 2016
Australia's Scott Hend will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the European Masters in Switzerland after recording a five-under-par 65 on Saturday.
Hend is chasing a second title on the European Tour this season after victory in Thailand in March, and the 43-year-old could have been even more handily placed if not for a bogey on the final hole.
He made six birdies in his third round, including three in a row just before the turn, to sit on 13-under overall with the lone blemish coming at the 18th as Alex Noren turned up the pressure.
"I played really nice golf," Hend told Sky Sports. "I left a few shots out there but made a couple of par saves which made up for it. It was unfortunate on 18 when my ball managed to run between the bunkers down the cart path.
"One shot clear is better than none. I just want to play solid golf again and hopefully hole some more putts and see where we end up."
Swede Noren, winner of July's Scottish Open, carded a 66 boosted by three birdies over his last five holes to set up an intriguing final day at the Crans-sur-Sierre course in the Swiss Alps.
Joint-overnight leader Richard Bland shot a steady 69 to leave the Englishman three shots behind the leader, while compatriot Andrew Johnston is another stroke back alongside French rookie Romain Langasque, following a two-under 68.
Danny Willett's hopes of defending his title all but evaporated after he again struggled with inconsistency, mixing five birdies with as many bogeys in an even-par round of 70. He is three-under for the tournament.
Round 2 - Three lead at halfway
September 3, 2016
French rookie Romain Langasque surged into a three-way tie for the halfway lead at the European Masters in Switzerland on Friday following a sizzling seven-under-par 63 in his second round.
The 21-year-old, winner of last year's British Amateur Championship, charged to the top of the leaderboard after taking advantage of ideal morning conditions at the Crans-sur-Sierre course in the Swiss Alps.
Langasque, playing in just his fifth European Tour event, made five birdies and an eagle to climb to nine-under overall and sit level with Englishman Richard Bland and Australia's Richard Green.
"If I play good that's cool and if I play bad then it is no problem. I have nothing to lose. I have no pressure and maybe that's why I can play good," Langasque told Sky Sports.
"I'm quite sure I will be on the European Tour next year so I play without pressure.
"My hopes for the weekend? Win. I will try my best to win," added the Frenchman, who only turned professional in April after finishing 39th at the Masters.
Sweden's Alex Noren, who won the Scottish Open in July, matched Langasque's round of 63 with a flawless display featuring seven birdies to leave himself one stroke off the pace alongside Australian Scott Hend and Richard Lee of Canada.
Andrew Johnston is another shot back, but Masters champion Danny Willett, who won this event a year ago, struggled with inconsistency as a triple-bogey on the 12th hole bumped him down to three-under overall after a round of 72.
Willett is level with fellow Ryder Cup rookie Chris Wood, while Lee Westwood rebounded from a disappointing opening round by shooting a 66 on Friday.
Westwood, 43, will be making his 10th consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup later this month as Europe seek to lift the trophy for the seventh time in eight contests when they take on the United States at Hazeltine in Minnesota.
Round 1 - Danny Willett opens with a 65
September 2, 2016
Danny Willett of England, the Masters champion on both sides of the Atlantic, shot a 5-under 65 to be one stroke off the lead after the European Masters first round on Thursday.
Willett began the defense of his title in the scenic Swiss Alps among nine players trailing joint leaders Paul Peterson of the United States, Frenchmen Gregory Havret and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, and Daniel Brooks of England.
Peterson, a lefty who won the Czech Masters two weeks ago, had four birdies in a five-hole section from 14 to 18 in his round of 64.
The group on 5 under included Andrew ''Beef'' Johnston of England.
Among Europe's Ryder Cup team, Lee Westwood shot a 2-over 72 and Matt Fitzpatrick had a 5-over 75. Captain Darren Clarke carded a 78.