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Bounce off hotel could eventually earn Alex Noren a Masters berth

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After falling out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking on a few occasions the previous two years, Alex Noren is back inside the top 50.

And he has quite the fortunate bounce to thank for that.

The 40-year-old Swede tied for second on Sunday at the Alfred Dunhill Links after his tee shot on the drivable par-4 finishing hole at St. Andrews’ Old Course kicked off the Rusacks Hotel, back into play and onto the green to set up a closing birdie.

Noren nearly eagled the hole to force a playoff, too, but his 60-plus-foot putt ended up about a foot away.

Despite falling short, Noren jumped from No. 56 to No. 50 in the world rankings on Monday. While he’ll have to remain there by year's end in order to qualify for the Masters, there’s a chance Sunday’s bounce proves the difference between Noren playing all the majors next year or not. Cutoffs for the U.S. Open (top 60) and Open Championship (top 50) are later in the year in 2023.

Starting in 2017, Noren qualified for all four majors for three straight years. However, he hasn’t competed in a Masters since 2019, and in the past three seasons, he’s never teed it up in more than two majors, this year earning starts in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, where he missed the at each.