Noren keeps Wales Open lead as McDowell implodes



NEWPORT, Wales (AP) — Alexander Noren has maintained his lead at the Wales Open after a third round in which defending champion Graeme McDowell slumped to an 81 and fell 11 strokes off the pace.

Noren shot par 71 after four birdies on the back nine to total 8-under 205. He’s one shot ahead of Anders Hansen (66) and Peter Hanson (69). Jamie Donaldson (71) is two shots back and Victor Dubuisson (72) and Steve Webster (70) are three behind.

But it was McDowell’s slide from a shot behind Noren on Friday to out of contention by the turn that stunned the Celtic Manor crowd. It comes just two weeks before he begins his U.S. Open title defense at Washington’s Congressional course.