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LONDON (Reuters) - Swede Alex Noren took advantage of relatively calm conditions to fire a six-under-par 66 and claim a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Scottish Open at Inverness on Friday.
The 33-year-old, a four-times winner on the European Tour, birdied five of his last eight holes to cap a bogey-free display and post an eight-under total of 136 at the warmup event for next week's British Open at Royal Troon.
New Zealand's Danny Lee (66) and Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) were on seven-under, a stroke better than Italy's Matteo Manassero (67), England's Richard Bland (68), South African Branden Grace (67) and Spaniard Jorge Campillo (66).
"I really like this place, it's such a fun course to play," Noren told reporters at Castle Stuart. "There are a few very tricky holes and then a few holes where you can be a lot more aggressive.
"Some weeks we play courses which are tough from the first hole to the 18th but here it's a really nice mix so I like it a lot."
Triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland (69) was on five-under while American Phil Mickelson, a regular visitor to the Scottish Open, followed his opening 76 with a 69 to lie nine strokes off the pace.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Andrew Both