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Noren clings on to 1-stroke lead

MIAMI (AFP) — Alex Noren of Sweden closed in on a first US PGA Tour title with a bogey-free four-under par 67 on Saturday for a one-stroke lead over Camilo Villegas in the Bermuda Championship in Southampton.

Noren, who won the most recent of his 10 DP World Tour titles at the French Open in 2018, was delighted to emerge from a testing round still atop the leaderboard, even though his lead was reduced by one shot.

“This is what you dream of, having a chance to win and being up in the final group on a Saturday, Sunday,” said Noren, who got up and down for his fourth birdie of the day at 17 and saved par at the last to stand on 19-under par 194.

“I really enjoyed it today,” he said.

“I came off maybe a little cold at the start, but I played good enough to kind of get that four-under in the end. I’m very happy, happy with that and happy to still be in the lead.”

Colombian veteran Villegas surged into contention with a six-under par 65 that featured seven birdies and a bogey.

He pressured Noren with four birdies in a row from the ninth through the 12th and briefly tied the lead with a two-putt birdie at the 17th.

“Played nicely,” said Villegas, who has been knocking on the door in recent weeks in search of a fifth US PGA Tour title — and a first since 2014.

“I was very patient because I made a bogey on four and then just kind of missed on five, didn’t make a birdie on six.”

“Good birdie on seven and then got going there nine, 10, 11, 12 and the finishing stretch is tougher,” Villegas said. Hit good shots, especially on that 15 and 16th hole. Got away with a drive on 17, made a good four there. I thought I actually made that eagle putt.

“But overall, three days — one more.”


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