Irish run out of birdies as Swedes excel on home soil
Alex Noren. Picture © Getty Images

Alex Noren. Picture © Getty Images

Ireland’s trio of hopefuls made just two birdies between them to kiss Nordea Masters success goodbye in Malmo.

Peter Lawrie made just one, at the first, in a 76 that relegated him 42 spots to 55th on level par, 11 strokes behind leader Alex Noren of Sweden, who shot a 67 to lead by two from the in-form Maximilian Kieffer.

Michael Hoey had four bogeys in a 76 that saw him slip 33 places to 67th on two ovcer whole Gareth Maybin made just one birdie in a 77 that left him tied 77th on five over at PGA Sweden National.

It was Sweden’s National Day on Saturday and the home players duly delivered performances worthy of celebration in round three with Noren leading the way.

Six of the top eight are Swedish, including World No 4 Henrik Stenson, whose eagle at the first sent him on his way to a 68, but they are all chasing Noren.

Behind him are Jens Dantorp (73) and Sebastian Soderberg (71) sharing third place on eight under, with Kristoffer Broberg (70), Steven Jeppesen (70) and Stenson tied sixth.

Kieffer is poised to spoil the Swedish party, a two under par 70 lifting him into second spot on nine under, while Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen (68) is in contention again in fifth place a week after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

It was a tougher day for young amateur star Marcus Kinhult, who dropped to tied 14th after a 77, having led the first two rounds.

Noren said: “It’s very nice and I’m very happy to play the way I did today, especially my putting. My whole game, in fact, was pretty good. It was a great start. 

"I hit some good shots on one and two and holed a couple of good putts on four and five. The year has been fantastic – I’ve had a few good finishes and steadier play.

"I’m working hard on hitting the right shots at the right times, and on days like today you get a good test of it. Before I was maybe a bit one-dimensional in my game and always hit a fade; now I’m trying to hit a draw too. It’s working a bit better.”

Kieffer played well at Royal County Down, finishing tied eighth, and he’s looking forward to a better final day on Sunday, having closed with a 77 to fade from the picture in the Irish Open.

“I hope I’ve learned something from last week,” the German said. "It’s very pleasing and I’m very happy with the finish. There was a point after the bogey on the 13th when I was upset and it could’ve gone the other way, but I made the putt at the next hole for birdie. 

"It’s crazy in golf – one good shot or good break can give you momentum and that’s what I needed at that point.”

Dantorp was proud of how he played in tricky conditions and confessed that he is now a more accomplished player than 12 months ago.

He said: “I’ve improved a lot since this time last year – not so much with the golf swing or anything technical, but mentally.

"I feel a lot more comfortable being in this position. I’m enjoying being on the leaderboard, whereas a year ago I was a bit stressed about it.”

Nordea Masters, PGA Sweden National (Par 72)

205 A Noren  (Swe) 70 68 67,

207 M Kieffer (Ger) 68 69 70, 

208 J Dantorp (Swe) 67 68 73, S Soderberg (Swe) 68 69 71,

209 S Kjeldsen (Den) 72 69 68,

210 K Broberg (Swe) 70 70 70, S Jeppesen  (Swe) 72 68 70, H Stenson (Swe) 70 72 68,

211 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 72 69 70, C Shinkwin (Eng) 69 73 69, A Levy (Fra) 69 70 72, S Henry  (Sco) 69 71 71, C Paisley  (Eng) 67 73 71,

212 A Cañizares  (Esp) 70 71 71, G Havret  (Fra) 72 71 69, A Otaegui  (Esp) 68 72 72, J Parry (Eng) 71 72 69, T Murray (Eng) 74 68 70, N Colsaerts  (Bel) 73 71 68, P Hanson (Swe) 71 71 70, S Forsstrom (Swe) 70 72 70, M Kinhult (am) (Swe) 67 68 77,

213 B Ritthammer (Ger) 69 75 69, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 68 75, L Slattery (Eng) 68 73 72, L Bjerregaard  (Den) 71 70 72, J Blixt  (Swe) 74 68 71, E Grillo (Arg) 72 70 71, M Nixon (Eng) 73 70 70, A Quiros  (Esp) 75 66 72, S Gallacher (Sco) 71 71 71, B Hebert  (Fra) 68 72 73, J Hahn (USA) 69 73 71, D Fichardt (RSA) 70 70 73, T Lewis (Eng) 68 70 75, A McArthur  (Sco) 71 69 73,

214 S Hend (Aus) 74 69 71, M Carlsson  (Swe) 68 71 75, J Campillo (Esp) 74 70 70, J Morrison  (Eng) 71 71 72, R Kakko  (Fin) 72 70 72, T Pieters  (Bel) 68 74 72, A Tadini (Ita) 69 72 73, O Fisher  (Eng) 69 75 70, D Woltman (USA) 70 69 75,

215 O Farr (Wal) 70 70 75, H Otto (RSA) 69 70 76, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 72 72, J Roos (RSA) 71 70 74, D Gaunt (Eng) 74 69 72, S Benson (Eng) 73 71 71, S Hansen (Den) 71 72 72, S Wakefield (Eng) 69 75 71, F Fritsch  (Ger) 70 74 71,

216 P Lawrie (Irl) 69 71 76, R Gonzalez (Arg) 74 68 74, R Karlberg  (Swe) 71 73 72, L Gillgren (Swe) 72 72 72, T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 73 69 74, R Dinwiddie  (Eng) 73 69 74, N Fasth (Swe) 72 71 73, J Edfors (Swe) 71 73 72, B Dredge (Wal) 72 72 72,

217 B Hellgren  (Swe) 70 70 77, F Zanotti (Par) 70 74 73, T Bjørn (Den) 71 72 74,

218 M Lundberg (Swe) 73 71 74, N Lemke (Swe) 74 68 76, J Singh (Ind) 71 73 74, J Rask (Swe) 74 69 75, M Hoey  (Nir) 74 68 76, O Bergqvist (am) (Swe) 74 69 75,

219 M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 73 69 77, P Oriol (Esp) 68 73 78, T Van Der Walt (RSA) 72 69 78, A Velasco (Esp) 70 69 80,

220 B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 71 72 77, G Maybin (Nir) 72 71 77,

221 J Barnes (Eng) 75 69 77.