Golf: Alex Noren buoyed for major challenge after European PGA Championship win

Sweden's Alex Noren poses with the trophy after winning the PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on May 28, 2017.
Sweden's Alex Noren poses with the trophy after winning the PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on May 28, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WENTWORTH (AFP) - Sweden's Alex Noren believes his win in the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday puts him in with a chance in the season's three remaining major championships.

Noren shot a 10-under-par 62 to claim the title - coming from seven shots off the pace - to land the European Tour's flagship event, his fifth win in less than a year.

The 34-year-old missed the cut in the US Masters in April and has only one top-10 finish in a major to his name - ninth in the British Open in 2012 at Royal Lytham.

But Noren, who will move into the top 10 in the world rankings after his win, says his confidence is high heading into next month's US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

"This tournament in my mind compares a lot with a major," he said after his win on Sunday. "What I wanted to do is play better against a better field and better courses, tougher courses. And I view this as a very difficult course against a very tough field.

"So then this is very close to a major in my mind. So my confidence goes up.

"It's just work towards your goals and trying to kind of improve on my weaknesses and improve on my strengths, and trying to figure out where I'm losing shots and where I'm gaining shots.

"But overall, a win like this brings your confidence up, and that's what I've always needed, to believe in myself, and then it's easier to focus on what you need to do."

Noren was plagued by a wrist injury before winning four tournaments in 11 starts last year but says his biggest battle in golf was keeping the ball on the fairway. He added: "I never had a good game off the tee. So I was always quite worried where the ball was heading and I couldn't really play really difficult golf courses well.

"That's what I worked the hardest on, to get the ball somehow on the fairway a bit more often.

"I think that gives me a little bit more calmness, and then I can concentrate on the whole game and not just worry that I'm going to send a few out-of-bounds every round.

"When I was injured, I always knew I was coming back to some sort of form. But maybe it made me think a little bit more to train a little bit smarter."