Since accepting his invitation to represent his country in the World Cup of Golf in November, Alex Noren has been nothing short of brilliant.
It all started at the Scottish Open in July, where he held off a world-class field, including fellow World Cup of Golf participants, Danny Lee, Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Manassero. A 2-under-par, 70, in the final round earned Noren his fifth European Tour victory. That was just the beginning of what would be a memorable three-month stretch for the Swede, though.
Nearly a month later, he finished runner-up at Paul Lawrie's Match Play event in Scotland, which will be a nice warm-up for the foursomes and four-ball format which players will be faced with at Kingston Heath.
In his next event at the Omega European Masters, Noren buried a 30-foot putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Scott Hend for his second European Tour title of the season.
Noren tasted victory for the third time this season, most recently at The Grove (British Masters), where he rattled off four consecutive rounds in the 60's, including a final round 69 to finish at 18-under-par, for a two-stroke victory.
He's added three top-10 finishes to his three wins during his last nine starts.
The Swede sat 471st in the Official World Golf Ranking on January 25th in 2015, but has quickly made strides up the rankings over the past 20 months. He reached a career-best 18th in the world after his victory at the British Masters, the largest leap amongst players inside the OWGR's top-500 during that span.
It's safe to say that Noren is the hottest player heading into this year's World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia.
After World No. 5 Henrik Stenson declined his invitation to compete in the World Cup, the torch was passed to Noren to represent his nation, and he was quick to accept with a lot to prove.
"I'm looking forward to it. When I found out that I would be representing Sweden in the World Cup of Golf, it was a great honor. It means something more to be able to represent your country in an event like this," Noren said.
Sweden's last victory in the event came in 2008, when Stenson and Robert Karlsson claimed the country's second title after a combined 63, the low score on the final day, for a two-stroke victory.
Noren turned professional back in 2005. He was competing for the Sweden National team while attending Oklahoma State University. In 2004 at the Men's Amateur World Cup in Puerto Rico, he won bronze for the individual honors.
"That was a big turning point for me. I felt that I can compete and prevail against the best amateurs in the world after that," Noren noted.
Nearly twelve years after that feat, Noren will have a chance to compete against the world's best players when two-man teams from 28 countries tee it up at Kingston Heath in late November.
Noren also won the European Tour's Nordea Masters in July 2015, securing his second title in the event (2011). It wasn't until the 2009 Omega European Masters where he claimed his first title on the Tour, though.
His partner, David Lingmerth, is no stranger to golf's biggest stages either.
Lingmerth earned his first PGA TOUR win at the 2015 Memorial Tournament, defeating Justin Rose in a playoff. In January 2016, he joined a playoff at the CareerBuilder Challenge, eventually finishing runner-up, losing to a par on the second extra hole.
He finished T12 at this year's U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. He also fulfilled his Olympic dream playing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, representing Sweden with a respective T11 finish at 6-under-par.
The 29-year-old who lives in Jacksonville, Florida now turned professional in 2010, playing his college golf at the University of West Florida and University of Arkansas.
Noren will be making his second appearance in the World Cup of Golf after a finish for 25th in 2011, while Lingmerth will be making his first appearance in the event.
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