WATFORD, England, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Alex Noren did his hopes of bagging a third European Tour victory in three months a power of good by galloping three strokes clear of the field after the British Masters third round on Saturday.
The Swede, who won the Scottish Open in July and last month's European Masters in Switzerland, produced a dazzling exhibition of golf at The Grove with a six-under-par 65 giving him a 16-under tally of 197.
Asked what it would mean to achieve a title treble in a single campaign, the 34-year-old told Reuters this week: "It would be unbelievable.
"I didn't really think about that possibility at the start of the season and it would be amazing to do it."
On a warm autumnal day just outside London, overnight leader Richard Bland took an early grip on proceedings with birdies at the first two holes.
However, bogeys at the fourth and 12th halted his progress and Noren drove past the Englishman with birdies at the second, sixth, 10th, 15th and 17th.
The Swede then delivered a stunning coup de grace by converting a swinging left-to-right putt from 40 feet for another birdie at the last.
Bland, seeking the first win of his career at the age of 43, had to settle for second position on 200 after carding a 69.
Sharing third place on 201 were Swede Peter Hanson, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, South African Richard Sterne and England's Tommy Fleetwood.
Former world number one Lee Westwood was five off the pace after an error-free 67 while 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (67) was a further stroke adrift. (Editing by Ed Osmond)