SUN CITY: Swede Alex Noren fired a “dream” 63 to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge by six shots on Sunday in a dramatic final-round turnaround at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
Trailing by six strokes after the third round, Noren stewed beforehand in his hotel room and then sizzled on the course, while overnight leader Wang Jeunghun of South Korea slumped to a three-over-par 75.
The Swede carded eight birdies, an eagle and one bogey in a round that left him one stroke short of equalling the course record.
Noren finished on 274 and Wang on 280 in a swing few could have imagined when the final round began in northwest South Africa.
It was the fourth European Tour triumph of the season for 34-year-old Noren, who pocketed $1.16 million (1.03 million euros).
Success lifted Noren to third behind compatriot Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett of England in the Road to Dubai standings with one tournament left, in Dubai next week.
After a third-round 75, Noren said he spent an hour in his hotel room plotting a recovery.
“I was not happy with my round and spent an hour in my room figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it,” he told reporters.
“My final round was one of those you dream about. It was huge, amazing. I felt so relaxed even though I was well behind going to the first tee today.”
Noren made a great start to his final round with three consecutive birdies, and picked up three more on the outward nine to reach the turn in 30, six under.
His second nine began with an eagle and a birdie before he experienced the only hiccup of the round, a bogey six at 14. He birdied 16 and concluded with two par fours.
Wang, whose third-round 64 in windy conditions was hailed as “magnificent” by South African golf legend Gary Player, turned in level-par 36 after three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.
Any hopes of catching Noren faded when he suffered a meltdown and bogeyed four of his final six holes.
Spaniard Alejandro Canizares (68), Victor Dubuisson (68) of France, Portuguese Ricardo Gouveia (67), Branden Grace (70) of South Africa and Englishman Andy Sullivan (72) shared third place on 281.
Reigning British Open champion Stenson (70) came next on 282, a shot ahead of big local hope Louis Oosthuizen, who finished with a disappointing 75.