Noren posted six birdies in a flawless display in Inverness to climb to eight under par, one shot clear of New Zealand’s Danny Lee and Englishman Eddie Pepperell, who posted respective rounds of 66 and 67.
World Number Ten Branden Grace (six under par), Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and his fellow Major Champion Graeme McDowell (both five under) are also firmly in contention, whilst the home charge is led by Richie Ramsay (four under), Inverness-born Russell Knox and Marc Warren (both two under).
But it is Noren they all have to catch after the four-time European Tour champion raced home in just 31 shots – the lowest nine of the week so far.
“I really like this place, it’s such a fun course to play,” said Noren who finished 3rd at this venue in 2012.
“There are a few very tricky holes, and then a few holes where you can be a lot more aggressive, especially the par fives and a couple of the par fours which are reachable from the tee. 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.”
Australian Scott Hend was unable to match his opening round of 69 and is now six shots from the lead after his second round of 73.
Andrew Dodt was the only other to Australian to make the cut, the Queenslander playing his way into the weekend after finishing right on the cut mark.
Leading 36 hole scores
136 A Noren (Swe) 70 66,
137 D Lee (Nzl) 71 66, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 67,
138 R Bland (Eng) 70 68, B Grace (RSA) 71 67, M Manassero (Ita) 71 67, J Campillo (Esp) 72 66,
139 G McDowell (Nir) 70 69, P Harrington (Irl) 70 69,
140 R Ramsay (Sco) 72 68, A Sullivan (Eng) 70 70, T Hatton (Eng) 70 70, A Cañizares (Esp) 74 66,
141 Y Yang (Kor) 70 71, C Paisley (Eng) 73 68, F Aguilar (Chi) 69 72, W Ashun (Chn) 72 69, R Gouveia (Por) 72 69,
142 R Knox (Sco) 72 70, M Kaymer (Ger) 72 70, S Hend (Aus) 69 73, N Elvira (Esp) 72 70, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 71, A Levy (Fra) 71 71, M Warren (Sco) 73 69, J Walters (RSA) 72 70,
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.