Sunday, 05 June 2011
Alex Noren   (Getty Images)
Alex Noren (Getty Images)

Alex Noren raced into a three shot lead as the final round of the Saab Wales Open began at a wet and windy Celtic Manor Resort.

The Swede, one clear of compatriot Peter Hanson and Dane Anders Hansen overnight, birdied the fourth and was nine under for the week after six holes.

Ryder Cup star Hanson drew level with a ten foot birdie putt on the fourth, but then missed a three foot chance at the next and followed that with a double bogey six, hitting his approach into the water.

Noren, resuming on eight under par, matched Hanson's birdie on the fourth after watching Hansen run up a double bogey seven on the long second.

Four-time European Tour winner Hanson was alone in second on six under, with Hansen and Pablo Larrazabal – the Spaniard three under after ten – a shot further back.

Noren followed his birdie with five straight pars and turned four clear as Hanson three-putted the short seventh.

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez went into joint second on five under with birdies at the 11th and 15th respectively.

For Gonzalez that was a remarkable effort. He triple bogeyed the first, but since then was six under.

Noren took another step towards the title with a birdie at the 12th. He was ten under and next best on six under were Gonzalez, Bourdy, Hanson, Hansen and Larrazabal.

There was a rare event ahead of them when Elliot Saltman holed-in-one at the 17th for the second time in the week.

That had not happened on The European Tour since Eamonn Darcy in France 20 years ago, and with a birdie on the last Saltman was three under and heading for the biggest cheque of his career.

Noren made his first mistake on the driveable 15th, his attempt to find the green kicking off the bank into the hazard on the left.

But a bogey five still meant he came to the final three holes three clear and in a commanding position.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-9
T2BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-7
T2HANSEN, AndersDEN18-7
T4GONZALEZ, RicardoARG18-6
T4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-6
T4EDFORS, JohanSWE18-6
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