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Rain fails to halt birdies at Scottish Open

By Craig Christie

AN exciting finale to the AAM Scottish|Open at a rainy Castle Stuart is expected on Sunday.

Castle Stuart will host the Scottish Open for a third year.
Castle Stuart will host the Scottish Open for a third year.

Sweden’s Alex Noren takes a two shot lead into the final round after Saturday’s 68 put his 12 under.

Italian Matteo Manassero and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and both ten under, with Hatton starting with an eagle and two birdies in the first 3 holes and finishing with two birdies for a 66.

“(I) hit a lovely shot into the first. Had about four or five feet for birdie there and then my second shot into the second was great,” said 24-year-old Hatton.

“I hit rescue to about 20-foot and rolled that in. Then made a really good up-and-down on 3. I just hit my tee shot a bit right, so obviously that was a really good start.

“That was the key. (I) feel like I lost my swing a little bit through the middle and then obviously the rain started coming down and it was quite tough.

“Birdie chances were hard to come by. Sort of tried to stay as patient as I can and then had a really good finish, so looking toward to tomorrow.”

Hatton and Noren head out at 3.10pm on Sunday, while the fourth last pairing includes Graeme McDowell who is well placed to win the title he claimed in 2008 at Loch Lomond.

The Northern Irishman said of his 69 for eight under par: “I hit some nice shots on the front nine and made nothing and walked off 1-over par for the nine holes.

“I guess when the rain came on, I had no frustration left. So I just tried to knuckle down and make some birdies and that little run there on 13, 14 and 15 was pretty sweet and obviously kept me in the golf tournament.”

South African Justin Walters and New Zealander Danny Lee are -9, a shot ahead of McDowell and Andy Sullivan (England).

Best Scot is Richie Ramsay on six under and joint ninth place alongside the likes of German Martin Kaymer.

American Phil Mickelsen made the biggest early move on Sunday, with a superb eagle on nine and three other birdies taking him to -6 after 12 holes.

The tournament has atrracted a large number of golf fans from Moray, though attendances have been hit by the wet weekend weather.

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