Alex Noren wins Omega European Masters in playoff with Scott Hend

Alex Noren of Sweden scored a 20-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to beat Scott Hend of Australia in a play-off for the Omega European Masters title on Sunday.

Noren scored a 5-under round of 65 to be tied at 17 under with Hend, the overnight leader who carded a 66 on the Crans Montana course.

“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.

Noren, who is assured to rise from his No. 39 world ranking, 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 the rain started to fall for the first time all week.

The win was Noren’s second of the year after capturing the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open earlier this summer.

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