European Tour

Noren relishing Euro PGA Championship defence

Alex Noren (Gallo Images)
Alex Noren (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Alex Noren will tap into some 'unreal' memories when he defends his European PGA Championship title next month after claiming the biggest win of his career to date at Wentworth Club in 2017.

The Swede ensured the European Tour's Rolex Series got off to a dramatic start when he fired a stunning closing 62 for a two shot victory after starting the day seven strokes back.

He will now hope to become the first player to defend a Rolex Series title when he returns to Wentworth Club from May 24-27, with four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy, 2017 Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood and Englishman Paul Casey joining him the field.

The PGA Championship once again launches the Rolex Series - the eight premium events on the European Tour's Race to Dubai - and Noren admits he is looking forward to returning to the scene of his incredible comeback.

"It's by far the biggest tournament I've won, and it would be unreal to defend it," said Noren. "I think it was a shock to me to win it.

"I played it ten times before last year and I always thought the golf course was not up my alley. I made it, in my head, a bigger tournament than it maybe is - it's already huge and then I made it feel even bigger.

"Last year when I finally was a winner in the end it felt incredible.

"I've watched the tournament since I was little, and then you get to play it, then you make the cut for the first time, so it's always been a big tournament in my head and it was amazing to win it."

The 35-year-old has made a strong start to 2018 with a third place finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin last month, plus a runners-up result at the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour at the end of January.

Noren's victory at Wentworth Club last year was his ninth European Tour title, and fourth on British soil following the Wales Open in 2011, Scottish Open in 2016 and British Masters, also in 2016.

This year's PGA Championship also holds added significance with Ryder Cup points earned at European Tour events from the PGA Championship until Made in Denmark multiplied by 1.5 on both the World Points List and the European Point List.

Noren's form has put him in contention for a place.

"I know I have to play so good week in, week out to get in the team, so it has been a focus of mine. I've started this year a lot better than I have previously and I'm really happy about that," Noren explained.

"The Ryder Cup is quite far away from now, so it's in the back of my mind, but it would be amazing to be in it."

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