Inverness - Alex Noren of Sweden rolled in five birdies in his last
eight holes to shoot a 6-under 66 in calmer conditions and take a one-stroke
lead after the second round of the Scottish Open on Friday.
On a day of lower scoring around the Castle Stuart links,
Danny Lee of New Zealand (66) and Eddie Pepperell of England (67) were a shot
behind Noren, who had an 8-under 136.
Lee is only playing the Scottish Open after the PGA Tour cancelled
this week's Greenbrier Classic because of flooding in West Virginia. Lee is
defending champion at the Greenbrier and is donating money for every birdie
($500) and eagle ($1 000) he makes to the flood-relief efforts.
Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson, two of the top names in
the field, made the cut after shooting rounds of 69 but were nine shots off the
lead. Matteo Manassero and Branden Grace (both 67) were in a four-way tie for
fourth on 6-under overall.
Winds were lighter after a blustery first round in northern
Scotland and Noren found his form with the putter from No 2 - his 11th hole,
after starting on the back nine. He birdied Nos. 2 and 3, then Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
His tee shot at the par-3 8th landed about 2 feet from the pin.
Noren didn't drop a shot and has just one bogey in two
"I just kind of worked on my swing, and you're messing
around and all of a sudden I got a little bit better strike," said Noren,
who has already qualified for the British Open at Royal Troon next week in
"Played steady on the front nine, and then you know, my
last nine holes, I really got it going."
Lee, who also started at No 10, had six birdies in a
bogey-free round - four of them coming between Nos. 1 and 6.
"I love to play great every week. But making birdies
and eagles are very important to me this week," said Lee, who had five
birdies in the first round. "It's very unfortunate that happened at West
Virginia. I won the Greenbrier Classic last year there and was so looking
forward to go back there and interact with a lot of fans, and people were just
so nice to me last year.
"I know it's not that much to help everybody but I'm
trying to make as much birdies as possible to add a little bit of help."
Mickelson made the cut, which was at 2 over, after
recovering from two bogeys on his first four holes that put him on 6 over for
the tournament. On the par-5 16th - his seventh hole - the five-time major
champion ran a 2-iron to about 4 feet and made eagle. He birdied three of his
last eight holes, including a 25-foot putt on No 2.
Mickelson said his putting was better Friday after taking
time to make adjustments to the slower greens than he is used to playing on the
"I've been leaving every putt short here," he said.
"I just haven't trusted it on the golf course. I keep fearing knocking it
five, six feet by."
Leading and selected Scottish Open second-round scores at the Castle
Stuart Course, Inverness on Friday (GBR and IRL unless stated, par 72):
136 - Alex Noren (SWE) 70-66.
137 - Danny Lee (NZL) 71-66; Eddie Pepperell 70-67.
138 - Jorge Campillo (ESP) 72-66; Branden Grace (RSA) 71-67; Matteo Manassero (ITA) 71-67; Richard Bland 70-68
139 - Padraig Harrington 70-69; Graeme McDowell 70-69.
140 - Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 74-66; Richie Ramsay 72-68: Andy Sullivan 70-70; Tyrrell Hatton 70-70;
142 - Russell Knox 72-70; Martin Kaymer (GER) 72-70.
145 - Phil Mickelson (USA) 76-69; Henrik Stenson (SWE) 76-69; Patrick Reed (USA) 75-70; Steve Stricker (USA) 74-71