Scott chasing a 15th PGA Tour title – file photo
It was a day of frustration for Adam Scott during round three of the Farmers Insurance Open but, as the dust settled, the 40-year-old Australian was just two from the lead and very much in contention for a 15th PGA Tour title.
To put it mildly, Scott’s round over the demanding South Course was a roller-coaster of the highest order. Five birdies, five bogeys a double bogey and an eagle added up to a round of 72 but although he relinquished the mid-round lead he established when converting a stunning approach from 290 yards at the par 5 9th for eagle, he remains within striking distance of the leaders, Carlos Ortiz and Patrick Reed.
Scott began with a bogey followed by two birdies but at the 4th hole he pulled his tee shot into the native area to the left of the fairway and was unable to find the green with his third. He then failed to get up and down resulting in a double bogey but two birdies and the eagle by the 9th had him in the outright lead.
He remained in the lead until a run of three bogeys in his final four holes and strong finishes from Reed and Ortiz, who birdied four of his last six holes, saw him walk from the 18th two off the lead.
Despite his frustrations Scott knows he is in with a chance in tomorrow’s final round.
“Yeah. I mean, I had 72, it felt like 80 at one point and it felt like it was going to be 67 at one point,” said Scott. “It’s a hard golf course and I got a little out of sorts coming in there, which is disappointing, but I’m a couple back and got a chance tomorrow.
“If I can just kind of find about 16 really good holes and limit the damage out here, I think I’ve got a good shot at it. It can turn around quick, there’s opportunities if you hit good shots and you get penalized if you hit bad ones. So I’ve got to find a bag full of good ones tomorrow. I’m looking forward to having a crack at it.
“If you’re not on top of your game on these tough courses, you know it’s a pretty demanding golf course in that wind today, a lot of holes into the wind on the back nine. You miss the fairway, it’s hard to hit a green you’re so far back.
“So really it was a combination of those two things coming in, leaving yourself work around the greens. It was tough putting the last nine holes today. You didn’t want to leave yourself anything and I didn’t hit any greens on the back nine, so it was hard work for me.”
The problem for Scott might not just be getting past those ahead of him on the leaderboard but keeping an eye on all 16 players within four shots of the 54-hole lead and in particular the man he shares 3rd place with Jon Rahm who has a win and a runner-up finish here in just four starts.
Tomorrow is shaping as a real shootout and Scott is very much one of the key protagonists.
Defending champion, Marc Leishman, is one shot behind Davis and tied for 27th, Cameron Davis improved 9 places with his round of 70 to be tied for 20th and six shots from the lead. It might be that he is not yet out of it as if a player back as far as 4 under (the score he is on) can find a way to record a round in the mid 60’s then they remain outside chances of winning.
Given only four rounds in the 60’s were recorded on day three however suggests that might be considerably easier said than done.
Rhein Gibson has been unable to retain his opening round brilliance and finds himself in 39th place, Cameron Percy is 45th, Matt Jones and Danny Lee are 55th and Tim Wilkinson 78th.
Adam Scott in action today – Getty Images Donald Miralle