01 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |

Scott slides, Reed hangs tough

by Mark Hayes

So close yet ... Adam Scott rues a narrowly missed birdie opportunity at Torrey Pines today.
So close yet ... Adam Scott rues a narrowly missed birdie opportunity at Torrey Pines today.

Any top-10 finish at Torrey Pines is an achievement.

But when Adam Scott looks back on this weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open, it might well take him a couple of years to think of it fondly.

Scott made a pair of late birdies today to enable his closing one-over-par round of 73 and for the Australian No.1 to climb back to a share of tenth at seven under, seven behind winner Patrick Reed.

But that Scott was 11 under and outright leader with five holes to play in the third round won’t sit well with the Queenslander, who very much in his defence said he was underdone coming to San Diego this week.

By any other standards, his 67-69-72-73 visit to the Torrey complex is outstanding. But by those that he sets himself, even in building mode for the season ahead, Scott’s celebration will be muted.

He birdied the par-5 sixth, but other than that, had only pars and four bogeys until he struck one of the day’s best tee shots to the long par-3 16th and duly cashed in.

Another birdie on the 17th after an impressive approach was well deserved, but of little overall consequence to the 2013 Masters champ.

Reed, the centre of a rules storm a day earlier, kickstarted his run to the title with an eagle on the sixth.

His birdie on the ninth gave him a one-stroke lead over Viktor Hovland and the pair had a handy buffer on the pack.

But while Hovland wobbled coming in and fell back to a share of second at nine under, Reed was rock solid mentally and made some great escapes when required with eight back-nine pars and then a closing birdie.

His 68 set up a ninth career US PGA Tour victory – the five shots his largest margin – that was predictably met by some derision on social media.

But the man himself was typically self-styled in his response.

“I was mentally strong throughout the whole round,” Reed said.

“My wedge and my putter was working pretty well today and it allowed me to have a pretty fun stroll up 18.

“My biggest takeaway (is that) I hung in there and stayed the course.”

Of the other Australians, Marc Leishman turned in what would like a great result at Torrey when the US Open returns to the same course this northern summer.

Leishman, the defending champ, carded a closing 70 that meant he played all four rounds at par or better and finished in a creditable share of 19th at five under.

Cam Davis maintained his good form, closing with an eagle for a 73 that left him three under and in a share of 32nd.

Cam Percy and Matt Jones were also remarkably consistent, closing with 72 and 71 respectively to share 48th at even par, while Rhein Gibson (74) finished at two over and in a share of 53rd.

Meanwhile, on the European Tour, Paul Casey was almost on cruise control as he coasted to the Dubai Desert Classic title.

Englishman Casey carded a closing 70 to finish at 17 under, four clear of Brandon Stone.

Defending champ Lucas Herbert and fellow Australian Wade Ormsby took different routes to get there, but each had a 71 to finish in a share of 20th at five under.

Herbert, normally a beast on the par-5s, closed with a double-bogey up the last. Remarkably, it was his third double-bogey seven of a strange week.

Jason Scrivener had an even-par 72 to finish at two under and a share of 41st.



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