Vincent Norrman of Sweden shot a 7-under-par 65 yesterday to capture a one-stroke victory at the inclement weather-delayed Irish Open.
Norrman, who improved 20 spots in the final 18 holes, shot a bogey-free round and surged past contenders to finish at 14-under 274 at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare.
His pursuers included third-round leader Hurly Long of Germany – an even-par 72 on Sunday to finish at 13 under – and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (74), who fell 13 spots down the leaderboard to tie for 16th.
Norrman carded his only unblemished round of the tournament, following rounds of 68, 71 and 70 with seven birdies on Sunday, including at the par-5 18th hole for the third time.
“It means everything,” Norrman said of his second DP World Tour title in his 14th appearance. “Obviously, such a cool event to play. The fans have been incredible. I’ve really had a fun week.”
Norrman, who won July’s Barbasol Championship in a playoff in a PGA Tour/DP Tour event in Kentucky, made birdies at Nos. 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 18 on Sunday.
“The front nine was huge,” he said. “I was playing so-so and then I birdied the seventh and ninth to get some momentum going into the back. I think that was key today.
“Obviously if you win, you’re doing something good. It’s a world-class event, and honestly I can’t believe it’s happened.”
Long, who entered the day one stroke ahead of England’s Jordan Smith and two better than McIlroy, had an adventurous round. He birdied Nos. 4, 9, 12 and 18, but made bogey at Nos. 2, 8, 13 and 14.
Four players tied for third at 12 under: Grant Forrest (70) of Scotland, Ryan Fox (70) of New Zealand, Thriston Lawrence (66) of South Africa and Ireland’s Shane Lowry (68), the 2009 Irish Open champion.
McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world, birdied the first hole as well as No. 4, 13 and 18. He also bogeyed the par-4 No. 11, double-bogeyed the par-5 No. 7 and posted an eight on the par-5 No. 16, where he went par-eagle and bogey the first three rounds.