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French Open champ Noren leans on course history

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SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – While most of the players on Team Europe boast plenty of experience at Le Golf National, none can match the recent good vibes of Alex Noren.

Noren is set to make his Ryder Cup debut this week, and it happens to be on a course where he won just three months ago. The Swede rallied from the middle of the pack on a difficult track in early July, shooting 65-67 over the weekend to win the European Tour’s French Open by a shot.

Fellow rookie Tommy Fleetwood captured the title at Le Golf National the year before, giving two of Europe’s newcomers a confidence boost heading into an unfamiliar environment.

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“It’s a totally different thing playing as a team and as an individual, but it’s nice to be at a course where I’ve done well, especially the last three years,” said Noren, who also finished eighth in 2016 and T-10 last year. “It gives me confidence. Like, you don’t have to play maybe perfect shots all the time. This course is all about patience, and I think it’s an unbelievable match play course.”

There are five rookies on captain Thomas Bjorn’s squad, and at age 36 Noren is the eldest of the debutants. But his record includes 10 European Tour wins, with six since 2016, and while his victory in France this summer remains his most recent worldwide top-10 finish, he’s eager to see what he and his teammates can achieve with a little bit of local knowledge.

“Overall I think it’s nice to come to a course where you know with this wind it’s this club, and with that wind it’s that club,” Noren said. “I think it helps us being a little more confident, having played a lot of rounds here, knowing how it plays, and what pins and all that. We’ve seen the whole place a lot of times.”