McDowell feeling positive heading to Troon
 Alex Noren. Picture: Getty Images

Alex Noren. Picture: Getty Images

Graeme McDowell believes he’s “trending” in the right direction heading into The Open despite a below average weekend performance around the greens at Castle Stuart.

The Portrush man finished tied for 10th behind Alexander Noren in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open after the Swede put on an ice cool display to claim a one-stroke triumph.

McDowell closed to within a few shots of the lead with a birdie at the first but while another at the sixth left him sitting pretty, he missed several crucial birdie chances around the turn until a bogey at the 14th all but ended his hopes.

In the end, a one under 71 saw him slip four places to tied 10th, five behind the winner, as Pádraig Harrington also shot 71 to share 21st.“Yeah, really happy with the way things are kind of trending,” McDowell said, despite his disappointment.

“I  hit the golf ball really well this weekend, especially hit all the shots today. Just I wasn't tight enough around the greens this weekend. Chipping and putting let me down this weekend. Really tee-to-green, I couldn't fault the way I played the first 15, 16 holes, really. Hit a lot of good shots. Gave myself a lot of opportunities.

“You know, sometimes when you've gone from very difficult conditions like Thursday and Friday, to benign conditions to where you know you should be scoring, tough to make that mental adjustment. I don’t think I did that well this weekend, when conditions were a bit easier and birdies were a little easier to get; I didn't adjust mentally.

"I hit the ball fantastically this weekend. I was really happy the way I drove the ball. My ball shaping is back. I’ve got a nice fade back in the bag which I really need for Troon next week and working on a couple small shots that I'll need off the tee for next week.

“Listen, I would have loved to got a little closer today and disappointed that I didn't, but we'll reset, get over to Troon and look forward to the challenge."

I’ve got a nice fade back in the bag which I really need for Troon
— Graeme McDowell

Having entered the final day with a two-shot lead, Noren was composure personified, carding three birdies en route to a final round of 70 to finish top of the pack with a 14 under total – despite the pressure applied by a plethora of contenders.

Chief among them was his playing partner Tyrrell Hatton, who signed for a flawless three under par round 69 to finish one shot behind the Swede.

The chasing pack also included Nicolas Colsaerts, whose round caught fire midway through the back nine with an eagle at the 12th, followed immediately by three successive birdies and another at the last. His six under par 66 saw the Belgian finish in a share of third place on 12 under alongside Danny Lee from New Zealand and Matteo Manassero.

Despite missing out on the title, there was cause for celebration for the Italian as he earned a place in next week’s Open Championship at Troon – as did Hatton, Colsaerts and Richie Ramsay, who finished as the best Scot in a share of sixth place on 11 under par.

Noren said: “This is by far the biggest win of my career, with the quality of players who are here, and on a course like this in Scotland, it’s what I dreamed of growing up. 

“I’m just happy it’s over, because it was a tough, tough leaderboard. A lot of guys were 11, 12 and 13 under, so it was not a comfortable win at all. But thinking about it this morning, how much it would mean to me, it felt so far away but now that it’s happened, it just feels unbelievable. 

“A lot of things clicked this week, my chipping was a lot better, my putting was a lot better and my driving was also better. I changed my driver coming into this week, and it definitely helped a lot. It’s an amazing feeling, and hopefully I can carry this confidence and form into The Open next week.” 

As for Hatton, he said: “I’m really happy with that result. Part of me is slightly disappointed in a way, falling one short. But I played well, and tried to stay as patient as I can. Obviously I find that aspect difficult, but overall I’m pleased because I couldn’t have done much more. 

“Alex played great golf today. He only dropped one shot, and was very solid and his short game was fantastic when he needed it. Fair play to him, but hopefully my time is coming soon.” 

Open qualifier Colsaerts played the last seven holes in six under to clinch his spot at Royal Troon with a second successive 66 leaving him tied third on 12 under. 

After following a long range putt for eagle at the 12th with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 15th and another at the last, Colsaerts said: “It feels great.

"Usually in the past, I feel like I’ve gone the other way, so to come from behind and go on a late charge like this on the back nine, on the last six holes, it’s pretty satisfying. 

“I holed a bunch in succession. I can’t even begin to calculate the length in feet of all those putts I holed on the back nine. It’s great. And it’s even better that my reward is to get in The Open.

"It’s a big deal for everyone. Every time you get a chance to play in The Open, you’re buzzing.” 

Danny Lee said: “I was very impressed with how I played this week, especially in the tough conditions on the first and third days. I hung in there and I hit a lot of good shots.

"At the end, my putting kind of ran away from me a little bit, I just kept making silly mistakes on the greens. But I guess I know what I have to work on, and I’ve got some good momentum for next week.” 

Michael Hoey signed off with a 72 to share 70th on four over and lies 194th in the Race to Dubai, where Noren moved up to eighth with McDowell now 48th and Harrington 154th.

Final Round Scores

274 A Noren  (Swe) 70 66 68 70, 

275 T Hatton (Eng) 70 70 66 69,

276 D Lee  (Nzl) 71 66 70 69, M Manassero (Ita) 71 67 68 70, N Colsaerts  (Bel) 74 70 66 66,

277 A Sullivan (Eng) 70 70 68 69, R Ramsay  (Sco) 72 68 70 67,

278 J Campillo (Esp) 72 66 72 68, C Shinkwin (Eng) 74 69 70 65,

279 P Reed (USA) 75 70 67 67, Graeme McDowell  (Nir) 70 69 69 71, R Knox (Sco) 72 70 70 67,

281 D Drysdale (Sco) 72 74 66 69, R Sterne  (RSA) 71 73 68 69, H Stenson (Swe) 76 69 66 70, M Kaymer (Ger) 72 70 68 71, M Ilonen  (Fin) 71 71 71 68, P Mickelson (USA) 76 69 70 66, P Meesawat  (Tha) 74 70 70 67, C Paisley  (Eng) 73 68 69 71,

282 F Aguilar (Chi) 69 72 72 69, R Bland (Eng) 70 68 72 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 74 72 66 70, S Stricker (USA) 74 71 70 67, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 71 73 70 68, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 70 69 72 71, J Walters (RSA) 72 70 65 75, R Wattel  (Fra) 73 71 65 73, 

283 R Gouveia (Por) 72 69 69 73, T Pieters  (Bel) 73 70 71 69, B Dredge (Wal) 71 72 68 72, B Grace  (RSA) 71 67 74 71, M Carlsson  (Swe) 72 71 69 71,

284 M Ford (Eng) 74 71 70 69, N Elvira  (Esp) 72 70 70 72, F Zanotti (Par) 77 67 67 73, N Bertasio (Ita) 72 72 72 68, J Quesne  (Fra) 73 72 69 70,

285 R Jacquelin (Fra) 73 71 70 71, M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 74 69 70 72, R Fisher (Eng) 76 70 69 70, A Dodt (Aus) 72 74 72 67, N Fasth (Swe) 72 71 68 74, A Wall (Eng) 75 69 71 70,

286 S Hend (Aus) 69 73 70 74, S Webster (Eng) 74 70 68 74, J Hansen  (Den) 73 73 69 71, M Kieffer (Ger) 75 71 68 72, W Ashun (Chn) 72 69 73 72, L Donald  (Eng) 71 72 69 74, D Howell (Eng) 72 72 68 74, A Cañizares  (Esp) 74 66 71 75, J Doherty  (Sco) 72 73 69 72,

287 R Evans  (Eng) 73 72 71 71, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 67 76 74, J Carlsson (Swe) 75 70 71 71,

288 O Wilson (Eng) 75 70 72 71, R Paratore (Ita) 72 74 69 73,

289 G Wright  (Wal) 74 71 72 72, R Rock (Eng) 72 73 69 75, G Havret  (Fra) 73 71 71 74,

290 L Bjerregaard  (Den) 76 69 70 75, T Bjørn (Den) 73 70 71 76, T Fleetwood  (Eng) 74 72 68 76, Y Yang (Kor) 70 71 74 75, M Warren (Sco) 73 69 75 73,

291 E Molinari  (Ita) 72 73 70 76, J Lagergren (Swe) 72 74 71 74, P Larrazábal (Esp) 73 72 75 71,

292 L Slattery (Eng) 74 70 71 77, Michael Hoey (Nir) 74 72 74 72, C Hanson (Eng) 75 70 75 72,

293 A Levy (Fra) 71 71 69 82,

295 S Gros (Fra) 75 71 76 73, J McLeary  (Sco) 74 72 74 75,

296 B Hebert  (Fra) 75 68 74 79.