Current Masters champion at long odds to add to his trophy cabinet.
Australia’s Adam Scott was grinding out pars to stay on the heels of the leaders in the third round of the PGA Championship when a double bogey blunder cost him dearly.
The reigning Masters champion needed three shots from the rough after hitting a tree at Oak Hill’s par-4 16th hole, then two-putted from 18 feet for double bogey, made a 15-foot par putt at 17 and parred 18 for a two-over par 72.
Scott, the first Aussie to capture a green jacket with his first major win at Augusta National, stood on five-under 205 after 54 holes at the $8 million major tournament, four shots behind US co-leaders Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner.
“I was grinding all day,” Scott said. “I bit off more than I could chew at 16 and made a bad mental error. It wasn’t really going my way out there with much.
“Seventeen was a great way to hang in there and made a four out of nowhere really and gave myself a chance to have a good round tomorrow and maybe post a number.”
Scott can take some consolation from the fact that no major winner this year has played in the final group, so lurking in the chase group is not a bad place to be on Sunday.
“I’m just hanging around. I’m not really doing anything out there,” Scott said. “That’s why 16 is disappointing. To lose a couple hurts.”
Dufner squandered a four-shot lead with four holes to play at the 2011 PGA Championship just as Scott did at the 2012 British Open. And Furyk, the 2003 US Open winner, led four times after 54 holes last year but did not win once.
“Four back is well within reach,” Scott said. “Anything can happen in a major. We saw the pin spots get very tough today and scoring in the final groups was very difficult. With so much danger around, it’s hard to be completely free with major pressure on the line.
“If I get off to a good start tomorrow, I feel like my game is in good enough shape where I can carry that through,” Scott said.
“Hopefully I just go out and find a little better rhythm with my swing tomorrow. Hopefully today was my day off and I come back really sharp.”
Scott wants to work on his putting as well.
“You have got to stand up and hit the best putt you can every time,” he said. “I’ve got to hit more good ones.”
He vows to be ready for the pressure of the difficult 18th hole on Sunday even though there are two groups behind him.
“You have got to build yourself up to stand there and know this is maybe your last shot at the tournament. It can all slip away,” Scott said. “Eighteen is no pushover. Hit a bad drive and bogey is staring you right in the face. You have got to stand there and hit the putt like it is the last one to win the tournament.”