Noren leads by one shot after third round of Ballantine's Championship

Alex Noren at the Ballantine's Championship
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Alex Noren, leading the Ballantine's Championship after 54 holes, says, "the tough thing here is to judge the wind on the second shots, so it's been tricky for the mind."
By news services

Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, April 27, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.

SEOUL, South Korea -- Alex Noren of Sweden leads by one stroke at the Ballantine's Championship after shooting a 3-under 69 in the third round following his earlier 67 in the rain-delayed second round Saturday.

After two days of delays, the event got back on track despite the cold and windy conditions at Blackstone Golf Club.

''The tough thing here is to judge the wind on the second shots, so it's been tricky for the mind and I'm exhausted right now,'' said Noren, who is seeking his fourth European Tour victory and first since winning twice in 2011.

Pablo Larrazabal of Spain (68) and Peter Whiteford of Scotland (68) share second place at 8 under.

Former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen shot a 71 to be equal eighth at 5 under.

Noren, who was able to complete his first 36 holes Friday and was just one behind at the start of Round 3, took advantage of his later start to reach 9 under for the week.

“It was a nice way to finish, and it was a long, tough day, a lot of wind,” said the 30-year-old after finishing his round with a birdie at the 18th. “My short game I think held it together, and I didn't have that many chances but I took care of them when I got chances for birdies and made the important pars when I needed. So it was a big fight day. 

“I'm just trying to play well tomorrow, and it's going to be a really fun day,” he explained. “I haven't been in the lead in a long time, and I've had some good finishes, but it will be a lot of fun.  But I'm just trying to play good and make birdies and try to make more birdies than the other ones.”

Noren has an impressive record in the Ballantine’s Championship, finishing seventh last year and fifth in 2011, and he is now aiming to convert that form into silverware.

“It's easier for a player to come back when you've done something good in the past,” he added. “You know you can score well around the track and good memories are always nice to have with you.”

Larrazabal’s 68 was tied for the low score of the third round, and gives the 29-year-old the chance of a third European Tour title.

"I hit the ball beautifully today," he said. "I'm very happy with the round and to be in the fight again. I only missed one green in regulation, which was something special. It will be good to be in the final group again, it's been a long time."

Whiteford was one of the players who had to complete their second rounds this morning, playing 28 holes in total.

"I was on the 5:00 a.m. bus, first bus in, last bus out, it looks like," Whiteford said. "It's been a long day but that's the job every now and then.

"My form has been pretty average, poor to be honest,” he added. “I was hitting it half decent on the range and just not taking anything to the golf course, but this week has been better."