Golf Australia

Scott all revved up for weekend

Adam Scott USGA
(Photo courtesy USGA/Michael Reaves)

Adam Scott knows he’s sitting behind the wheel of a race-primed Ferrari – it’s just that he’s yet to punch the accelerator around Pebble Beach this week.

The Australian eased rather than powered up the US Open leaderboard today, adding a second-round 69 to his opening 70 to sit three under at the midway point.

And while he’s content to have both shot two sub-par scores and be in contention for his second major championship, Scott is acutely aware of the unused power he has at his disposal.

After two errant mid-round wedges cost him bogeys and momentum in round one, he opened with two more today to again leave him on the back foot.

 

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To compound his frustration, Scott watched playing partners Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar cut an early swathe through the scoreable front nine while he was forced to take a more defensive approach after falling within sight of the cut line.

“It's right there,” Scott bemoaned.

“If I could get off to a good start, say two or three under after seven, which is happening – it happened in my group to both those guys – then you have the freedom to `freewheel a little bit, without being silly.

“But I started bogey-bogey and it's like `You really need to get this on track, or you're going to miss the cut if it goes the wrong way'.

“So I was left hedging my bets on a lot of shots and playing very smart and safe and maybe not able to take advantage of how I'm really swinging it.”

And that swing is – to both onlookers and Scott himself – in an historically sound state.

“My warm-up on the range today was all-time good stuff … but because of the start, I had to be careful and I couldn't really open up and attack where I wanted to,” the Queenslander said.

Scott regained his positive outlook with birdies on the fourth and sixth holes, then appeared ready to fully rev his engines after negotiating the tricky 8-10 stretch in one under par.

Near misses on 11 and 12 followed, but just as the revs were increasing, he inexplicably dumped a nine-iron approach on 13 into a greenside bunker and paid a heavy price when his ball plugged and he ultimately took a bogey, almost from nowhere.

“I was starting to feel good and had some chances, but that was like the wedges yesterday – it was an error and I probably can't afford to have three like that over the weekend.

“When you make bogey from the rough you can accept it, but with wedges – and that was a 9-iron – from the fairway, you'd want to be converting some of them into birdies, not scrambling for bogeys.

“But there was lots of good stuff out there and hopefully I can find that nice rhythm at the weekend and … I can close that quickly in an hour or so … and be there right in the mix.

“I just can’t make errors when I’m chasing. If I can have a hot nine holes of four or five under and then make no errors, that can be good enough to keep you in it the whole way.”

And Scott is acutely aware of not only the danger lurking around every corner in US Opens, but also that he’s in an enviable position if he can get that motor purring at the weekend.

“Four rounds under par? If you were offered that at the start of the week, you’d be taking that – and you’d be halfway to winning.”

That chase will now go through surprise halfway leader Gary Woodland.

The power-hitting American came with a rush late on day two and surged to a spectacular 65 highlighted by a 16m birdie putt in fading light on his final hole, the ninth.

At nine under, he leads by two from first-round leader and former champion Justin Rose, while Louis Oosthuizen is a shot further back at six under.

Young American Aaron Wise is five under alongside another past champ, Rory McIlroy, who threatened to kick clear during his second round, but dropped three shots in 10 minutes mid-round before steadying with two late birdies.

The cut was made at two over, leaving four of the eight Australians still in play at the weekend, including Jason Day, Cam Smith and Marc Leishman, all at one over.


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