30 Aug 2020 | Professional golf |

Scott hunting DJ, Matsuyama

by Martin Blake

Adam Scott BMW r2 image
Adam Scott tees off at No. 6 during his third round at Olympia Fields today. Photo: Getty

Adam Scott has set himself up for a tilt at the BMW Championship tomorrow as he tries to play himself into the season-ending Tour Championship in America.

Scott was outstanding again at a tough Olympia Fields outside Chicago, shooting an even-par 70 to sit tied-third in the $US9.5 million playoff tournament.

At one-over par overall, he is just two shots back from the joint leaders – world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama at one-under.

They are the only players in red numbers as the north course at Olympia Fields continues to play havoc with the players with its lightning-fast greens and dense rough.

As it stands, Scott will get himself into the top 30 on the points standings to give himself a start in the Tour Championship in Atlanta next week along with Marc Leishman, who had already qualified, and most likely Cameron Smith, who shot a lovely 68 today in Chicago. But Jason Day will miss out.

No Australian has ever won the Fedex Cup with its lucrative bonus pool.

Scott, the world No. 11, has found the tough set-up this week to his liking, playing steady golf tee-to-green. He had two birdies today – one at the par-four fourth hole when he almost holed out and another at the par-five 15th when he buried a long, right-to-left curling putt.

At that point, he had a share of the lead but his day was not done.

At the par-three 16th he had to make a miraculous up-and-down from the right greenside trap where his tee shot gave him a fried egg lie. Then at the par-four 17th he flared his tee shot into a hazard, needed to take a penalty drop, and had to scramble a bogey. Even at the 18th, his approach found a greenside trap and he needed to roll in a two-metre par-saving putt down the hill to post even-par for the day.

“It was good for me today,” Scott said after his round. “It was the best I've played this week. I played fairly awful the first two days, and my putter saved me. I putted well today, also, but just kind of kept running it by the edge of the hole for most of the day, but hit a lot more fairways and many more greens, so I was feeling a little more comfortable and a bit more stress-free.’’

That was the kind of day it was and that is the kind of week it is. But the course has brought out the best players, and many of them are in the mix.

Presidents Cup player Joaquin Niemann and Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes are with Scott at one-over but the big mover today was Spain’s Jon Rahm, who shot the equal-low round of the week, a 66, despite incurring a penalty for lifting his ball on a green without marking it.

Queenslander Smith is tied-26th after his good round today, but he needs to keep playing strongly tomorrow to ensure he gets to Atlanta for the second year in a row. At present, Smith is projected to be 29th in the Fedex Cup standings, just inside where he needs to be. Day (16-over) and Leishman (27-over) fill the last two places in the 69-player field.

Tiger Woods (10-over) will miss out on Atlanta.

Scott said he would keep it simple tomorrow. “Just play a round of golf I think is my mindset. If I just go out and play a round -- I've played good and bad this week, and I've had basically the same score every day. I saw today, though, that if I hit it well, there's a chance to make a few putts. One of this leading group will shoot four-under tomorrow, four or five-under I'm sure.’’

IN EUROPE, Australia’s Min Woo Lee shot a third-round 68 in the ISPS Handa UK Championship to leap into a tie for eighth at The Belfry entering the final round. BMW Championship scoring

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