Noren the King of Castle Stuart

By Joey Davidson 9 months ago

Alex Noren held his nerve at Castle Stuart Golf Links to win his fifth European Tour title at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

All four of his previous victories had come when he held the 54-hole lead and he maintained that record as he was briefly caught but never overtaken on a dramatic final day in the Highlands.

A closing two under par 70 got the Swede to 14 under and handed him a one-shot victory over Tyrrell Hatton, with Nicolas Colsaerts, Danny Lee and Matteo Manassero a shot further back.

Colsaerts, Hatton, Manassero and local favourite Richie Ramsay all earned themselves a place in next week’s Open Championship at Royal Troon by virtue of their top 12 finishes.

The win represents the first time Noren has won in consecutive seasons after his victory in the 2015 Nordea Masters and continues his remarkable comeback after missing most of the 2014 season with wrist injuries.

“I’m so happy it’s over because it was a tough, tough leaderboard,” he said. “A lot of guys at 11, 12, 13 under and it was just not a cruising win at all.

“Thinking about it this morning, how much it would mean, then it feels like miles away and now when it happens, it just feels unbelievable. This is by far the biggest win, the amount of players that are here and on a course like this in Scotland, it’s only what I dreamt of growing up – Alex Noren

“I’ll just try to enjoy this. 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.”

Englishman Hatton is still in search of a first European Tour win but this is his best result so far in a season that has seen him miss just two cuts in 13 events.

Hatton’s countryman Andy Sullivan finished at 11 under alongside Ramsay with Spaniard Jorge Campillo and England’s Callum Shinkwin – who equalled the low round of the week with a 65 – a further shot back.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, Scot Russell Knox and American Patrick Reed were then at nine under.

Ramsay was the first player to make a real charge up the leaderboard as he looked to become the first Scottish winner of this event since Colin Montgomerie in 1999.

He made a run of four birdies from the third – the highlight being a stunning 45-foot putt on the fourth – to get to ten under but that was three off the lead when Noren birdied the second.

The chasing pack were all jostling for position and it was New Zealander Lee who looked like he would present the biggest threat with birdies on the third and sixth moving him to 11 under.

Noren then missed the green at the eighth to drop a shot and when Lee made a birdie on the tenth, there was a tie for the lead. Hatton briefly joined that share with a birdie on the 12th but playing partner Noren followed him straight in to open up a one-shot lead once again.

Belgium’s Colsaerts then seemingly came out of nowhere to challenge as he went eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie from the 12th and added another gain on the last to come home in 30 and set the target at 12 under.

Noren had been a cool customer all day, though, and he put his approach to the 15th to six feet and rolled home to give himself some breathing space before Hatton birdied the last.

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