Adam Scott expected better results than he had produced in the first two days of The Barclays. He always expects something more. So does just about everyone else in golf who has watched him since he broke onto the scene with a swing that looked like Tiger Woods.
Scott won two tournaments earlier this season, but admitted Saturday that he has not gotten more out of his year, especially in the majors. He also knows that something big always might be just around the corner, such as the 65 he shot Saturday on Bethpage Black, moving him to 7-under for the tournament, only two strokes out of the lead.
“I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve really been in the mix. I’m always finding myself five or six back from getting momentum,” he said after having missed by a shot (a bogey on No. 16) of tying the course record. “But a few putts went in today. That fixes that and hopefully I’m within a shout tomorrow.”
Before any of the putts went in Saturday, he sank a 98-yard lob wedge for eagle on the par 4 first hole. That is the sort of thing that tells a golfer, “This might just be my day.”
“It’s what I needed,” the 36-year-old from Adelaide, Australia said. “It had kind of been a frustrating two days, playing well and not being able to get anything going. Then you’re given a good start, and two good shots on the next to four feet and you’re flying. It just kind of worked. The bad shots, I got away with it, and the good shots, I took advantage and holed a couple long putts on the back nine.”
Scott has had a very solid career, with 13 victories, including the 2013 Masters. Whether or not that matches the early expectations is open to debate. When he won The Players in 2004, his idol, Greg Norman, said, “He can eclipse all of us.” Also at the time, Woods recalled the first time their common coach, Butch Harmon, showed a tape of Scott taking a whack at a ball. Woods remembered thinking, “That looks like me.”
Putting has been up and down for Scott, before and after he used the now-banned anchored technique. On the 15th hole on Friday, he decided to just stop worrying about the mechanics of the stroke. “I just thought, ‘What difference does it make if I hit this past the hole? If it goes past, it might go in,’ ” he said.
He always has been capable of coming up big at any time, as he was at The Barclays three years ago. Scott shot 66 in the final round at Liberty National in Jersey City and watched Justin Rose, Woods and Gary Woodland missed potential tying putts.
Now he and the field have evidence that he can go low on the Black — he birdied 10 and 12 yesterday, two-thirds of a hard three-hole stretch. “And this is how these rounds come about on tough courses. You need some good stuff to happen,” said the golfer who always is expecting better things.