Favourite Norin in Stockholm lead

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Home favourite Alex Noren delighted the Stockholm galleries when he claimed a 3-shot halfway lead at the Nordea Masters.

Home favourite Alex Noren delighted the Stockholm galleries when he claimed a three-shot halfway lead in Friday’s second round of the Nordea Masters.

And this with a Bro Hof Slott Course record 6-under par 66 that took him three clear of the field with a 11-under par total

Five birdies in a spectacular outward 31 put the 29 year old two-time European Tour winner in front of overnight co-leaders Jaco Van Zyl and Stockholm amateur Robert Karlsson, and then, when he struck his tee shot to three feet on the par three 11th to complete the scoring in a bogey free round.

India’s Shiv Kapur is Noren’s nearest challenger after reaching eight under courtesy of a 66, which matched Noren’s course record within an hour of it being set.

But in one of the last groups of the day Korean Jin Jeong birdied three of his last four for a seven under 65 and the new course record!.

“I played probably the best I’ve ever played,” said Noren, the Saab Wales Open champion. “It’s just been great, everything has been going better. I don’t think I’ve ever done that on this course and I’ve played here a lot,” he added.

“It really helps playing this course alot, I know what lines there are and I know when to step back.”

Kapur is yet to win on The European Tour despite this being his sixth season, but he started his round with a hattrick of birdies from the 11th, holed from 20 feet on the 15th and, after three more gains and two bogeys, birdied his final hole of the day to put himself firmly in contention heading into the weekend.

Big-hitting American Bubba Watson saw his eagle putt creep in at the ninth and birdied four in a row from the 12th, but The Ryder Cup star was still not satisfied with his 67.

“I struggled on the front nine,” he said, after moving into a share of third place on six under. “Made a couple of dumb mistakes – three bogeys. Hit one in the water today – it could be better. I’m in a good position though, I’ve got to keep making birdies and hopefully not make any mistakes.

“I knew I was going to have a lot of short irons if I hit it over bunkers. There’s five par fives so you know I love that.”

Van Zyl joined Watson after a one under 71, with Jeong, England’s Anthony Wall, Australian Scott Hend and Karlsson, the pro, a shot further back –

And what of Karlson who could only manage a 75.

Starting his second round on the tenth, 41 year old Karlsson reeled off four consecutive birdies from the 15th to turn in a three under par 33.

The 11-time European Tour winner had a chance to join Watson in third after playing his third shot off the rocks to six feet at the par five ninth, but he missed the birdie putt and had to settle for a 70.

“It’s always a fairly high scoring golf course,” he said. “At 15 I had long two-putt for birdie, I hit a good six iron to a couple of feet, then holed two long putts.”

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