Noren wins Scottish Open for 5th European Tour victory

Alex Noren will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Scottish Open at a rainy Castle Stuart, after birdies at the final two holes Saturday.

Two strokes in front heading into the final round at Castle Stuart Golf Links, Noren was briefly caught in a tie at the top before pulling away with two birdies in the last seven holes to card a two-under-par 70.

The Swede, who had been sidelined for all of 2014 with tendinitis in both wrists, was challenged by England s Tyrrell Hatton who birdied the last in a round of 69 for a 13-under par tally.

New Zealand s Danny Lee drawing level near mid-round, but while the Monaco-based Noren admitted to being nervous, he was never headed and moved back to two shots clear of his rivals with birdies at the 12th and 15th holes. "I've just always accepted and relished that it's part of the Open and I love playing in these conditions", said the 2013 Open victor. "I know how tough this game is and I'm just really happy to get a win and then for next week, it's a new week and see what happens".

Joining Manassero and Hatton in securing spots for The Open - the only one of golf s four Majors staged outside the United States - were Colsaerts and Scotland s Richie Ramsay (67) who shared sixth place on 11-under par.

"Luckily a couple of shots dropped on the back nine and second outright equals my best finish on the European Tour".

"It's huge", he said. I think she'll enjoy her first major. "I was putting well all week but didn't putt well today".

A combination of bad weather and plenty of alternative sporting events has resulted in poor attendances in Inverness this week, with 33,076 coming through the gates before yesterday's final round.

"One of the thoughts is to start the Scottish Open a day earlier, on the Wednesday, so that we are not up against Wimbledon", Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert said.

"With Andy Murray (in the final), it's going to be a tough choice".

The Scottish Open is guaranteed its coveted place in the calendar the week before the Open Championship up to and including 2020, although the Irish Open - hosted by Rory McIlroy - is keen for that to change. That would be the much more logical arrangement.

Conditions were awful when the final groups headed to the first tee but although the rain was teeming down, the wind had stayed away and when it finally dispersed on the back nine, the best playing conditions of the week materialised.

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