McDowell finds putting touch to keep Scottish Open hopes alive
 Alex Noren. Picture: Getty Images

Alex Noren. Picture: Getty Images

Graeme McDowell dug deep in bad weather to remain in touch in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and boost his chances of contending in The Open at Royal Troon.

One over to the turn and frustrated as he lost touch with the leaders on a day of low scoring, the 36-year old shrugged off the rain by coming home in an immaculate four under 32 for a 69 that leaves him just four shots behind leader Alex Noren at Castle Stuart.

"I knew guys were going low, and getting off to such a slow start when the golf course was there for the taking," McDowell said. "When the rain came on, I had no more frustration left in me, and managed to make a couple putts and get going.

"Important to hang in there today. Could have blown myself out of the golf tournament out of the front nine but will be pleased to make a few birdies coming in and give myself a shot tomorrow.

"I wanted to come into these five weeks and be able to play golf and be patient and give myself some opportunities. I didn't really get off to the start I wanted to in France last week.

The guy who wins the Claret Jug next week is going to have to battle some of this.
— Graeme McDowell on Scottish conditions

"This is more what I expected of myself this week. My game is in good shape. I'm coming into these weeks and wanted to make sure I could try and compete two or three times for the five weeks.

"This is a nice start. Obviously good prep for Troon next week. I think whoever wins the Claret Jug will have to battle conditions like the ones we’re seeing here at The Scottish Open.

“Links golf is all about weather. We'll seen it all next week. The guy who wins the Claret Jug next week is going to have to battle some of this. This has been a really, really great preparation week for next week whatever happens. 

"Taking nothing away, I'm going to be 100 percent prepared for tomorrow and the opportunity.

"I'd love to win tomorrow obviously. It's a packed leaderboard. No idea what the weather is going to hold for us but we know it will play some kind of a factor.”

Pádraig Harrington started well within birdies at the third and fourth but had two bogeys sixes on his card on the way home, posting a level par 72 that leaves him tied for 16th on five under and seven behind.

Noren put on a masterful display to take a two-shot lead, overcoming the rainy conditions late in the day to finish with a pair of birdies and sign for a four under par 68.

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (66) and Italy’s Matteo Manassero (68) share second place with New Zealander Danny Lee tied for fourth with South Africa’s Justin Walters on nine under par.

McDowell shares sixth on eight under with three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan with Michael Hoey’s 74 leaving him tied 74th on four over.

Third Round Scores

204 A Noren (Swe) 70 66 68,

206 M Manassero (Ita) 71 67 68, T Hatton (Eng) 70 70 66,

207 D Lee (Nzl) 71 66 70, J Walters (RSA) 72 70 65,

208 Graeme McDowell (Nir) 70 69 69, A Sullivan (Eng) 70 70 68,

209 R Wattel (Fra) 73 71 65, 

210 R Gouveia (Por) 72 69 69, M Kaymer (Ger) 72 70 68, R Ramsay (Sco) 72 68 70, R Bland (Eng) 70 68 72, C Paisley (Eng) 73 68 69, N Colsaerts (Bel) 74 70 66, J Campillo (Esp) 72 66 72, 

211 A Levy (Fra) 71 71 69, H Stenson (Swe) 76 69 66, F Zanotti (Par) 77 67 67, N Fasth (Swe) 72 71 68, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 70 69 72, B Dredge (Wal) 71 72 68, A Cañizares (Esp) 74 66 71, 

212 N Elvira (Esp) 72 70 70, S Hend (Aus) 69 73 70, D Drysdale (Sco) 72 74 66, S Webster (Eng) 74 70 68, D Howell (Eng) 72 72 68, R Sterne (RSA) 71 73 68, L Donald (Eng) 71 72 69, M Carlsson (Swe) 72 71 69, S Kjeldsen (Den) 74 72 66, P Reed (USA) 75 70 67, R Knox (Sco) 72 70 70, B Grace (RSA) 71 67 74, 

213 C Shinkwin (Eng) 74 69 70, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 67 76, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 71 71, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 74 69 70, F Aguilar (Chi) 69 72 72, 

214 T Bjørn (Den) 73 70 71, W Ashun (Chn) 72 69 73, M Kieffer (Ger) 75 71 68, T Fleetwood (Eng) 74 72 68, T Pieters (Bel) 73 70 71, J Quesne (Fra) 73 72 69, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 71 73 70, P Meesawat (Tha) 74 70 70, J Doherty (Sco) 72 73 69, R Rock (Eng) 72 73 69, R Jacquelin (Fra) 73 71 70, 

215 M Ford (Eng) 74 71 70, J Hansen (Den) 73 73 69, G Havret (Fra) 73 71 71, Y Yang (Kor) 70 71 74, L Slattery (Eng) 74 70 71, S Stricker (USA) 74 71 70, L Bjerregaard (Den) 76 69 70, R Paratore (Ita) 72 74 69, P Mickelson (USA) 76 69 70, A Wall (Eng) 75 69 71, R Fisher (Eng) 76 70 69, E Molinari (Ita) 72 73 70, 

216 N Bertasio (Ita) 72 72 72, J Carlsson (Swe) 75 70 71, R Evans (Eng) 73 72 71, 

217 B Hebert (Fra) 75 68 74, G Wright (Wal) 74 71 72, O Wilson (Eng) 75 70 72, J Lagergren (Swe) 72 74 71, M Warren (Sco) 73 69 75, 

218 A Dodt (Aus) 72 74 72, 

220 Michael Hoey (Nir) 74 72 74, J McLeary (Sco) 74 72 74, C Hanson (Eng) 75 70 75, P Larrazábal (Esp) 73 72 75, 

222 S Gros (Fra) 75 71 76.