Noren charges 11 clear
Swede blitzes field with course-record third round of 63
Last Updated: 23/07/11 5:22pm
Noren: 11 shots clear of field after stunning third round of 63
Alexander Noren will take an 11-shot lead into the final day of the Nordea Masters at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm after the Swede carded a course-record round of 63 to extend his overnight lead.
Noren, 29, was already in a commanding position after the opening two rounds, but his nine-under-par third round put him in the record books and means only a monumental swing in fortune will cost him his third win on the European Tour.
Consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes and an eagle at the par-five ninth showed Noren's intent on the front nine and he carded five more birdies on his inward half to beat the previous course record by two shots and leave him 20-under-par overall.
Third round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-20 A Noren (Swe)
-9 B Watson (US)
-8 C Nilsson (Swe)
-8 J Van Zyl (SA)
Bubba Watson is his nearest challenger at nine-under after a mixed third round for the American.
He picked up five birdies in a blemish-free front nine but two further birdies on the back nine had to be set against bogeys at the 14th and 16th and a double-bogey six at the last.
Noren's fellow Swede Christian Nilsson recorded a 66 to move into a tie for third with South African Jaco van Zyl, both a shot behind Watson - who compared Noren's performance to that of Rory McIlroy at last month's US Open.
"When a guy is playing that well you can only keep going and do your best," stated Nilsson. "He's playing so well right now, like McIlroy in the States at the US Open.
"I was just thinking one shot at a time. I played really well, but I just lost focus on the back nine and couldn't recover from it. One bad swing on 18 cost me a double."
Noren, who picked up his second European Tour title at the Wales Open in June, struggled to comprehend his achievements.
"It's hard to sink in," he told the European Tour's website. "I've never dreamt of playing like this here, I just thought if I make the cut I will be happy this week - so 20-under is better than I can imagine.
"It was an amazing feeling. I never thought it would be possible to shoot these scores. Every shot went the way I wanted - I don't know what to say - I'm just so happy to play like this."