Noren extends Scottish Open lead


Alex Noren extended his Scottish Open lead on an action-packed day at Castle Stuart that saw the lead change hands on a number of occasions.

Noren had held a one-shot advantage heading into round three, but he will go into Sunday two clear of Tyrrell Hatton and Matteo Manassero thanks to three birdies in his last five holes.

In atrocious conditions, the Swede picked up strokes at 14, 17 and 18 to card a 68 that leaves him 12 under for the tournament.

"I'm very happy," Noren told the European Tour's official website. "The last nine was very tough. But after all, when you think it's not that many brutal holes, it's just that the easier holes get tougher, the medium holes get tougher, and it's just about staying dry, which is the main thing.

"I've learned that when you lead, it's not certain that you're going to win if you just hold on to it. Anybody, even six or seven under tomorrow [Sunday], can shoot a brilliant round."

Saturday had started well for Noren with a birdie at the second, but a bogey at seven saw him slip behind Danny Lee, while Manassero - who almost carded an albatross at the sixth - and Hatton were also closing in.

Soon enough there were five players tied for the lead, but Noren was soon ahead on his own again thanks to a three at the par-four 14th.

Hatton's excellent finish - plus another Manassero birdie - saw the leaderboard change again, before the Italian struck out on his own with two to play.

He bogeyed 17, though, and that allowed Noren to establish a two-shot cushion. A wonderful strike off the tee at the penultimate hole set him up for a two, before he finished with a flourish at 18.

There are 15 players, including Graeme McDowell, within six shots of Noren going into the final round, while four birdies in his opening 10 holes rocketed Henrik Stenson into contention.