Scott opens four-shot lead over McIlroy in Sydney

Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:18am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Adam Scott holds the upper hand in his duel with Rory McIlroy going into the final day of the Australian Open after the home favorite posted a four-under-par 68 to open a four-shot lead over the Briton on Saturday.

Two-time major champion McIlroy looked down and out after a patchy front nine but rallied for a 70 to remain in the hunt for his first win of the year in front of bumper galleries at the Royal Sydney Golf Course.

Most of the crowd were backing Scott's bid to secure a "triple crown" of Australian titles and a huge cheer went around the course when he birdied the last to double his overnight lead by reaching 16-under for the tournament.

"It's an exciting position to be in, obviously a great chance to win my national championship tomorrow," Scott, who has already won the Australian PGA and Masters titles this month, told reporters.

"And then also win the three events down here which is an unbelievable spot to be in. If you'd told me a month ago, I wouldn't have believed you.

"One round to go but a lot can happen. It's a phenomenon playing behind me and I'm sure he's going to throw plenty at me... but as long as the eye stays in with the putter, I think I should hold on."

McIlroy missed a shorter birdie putt at the 18th and so will resume on Sunday on 12-under, four shots clear of Australians Max McCardle (69), Matt Jones (72) and Richard Green (73) in a share of third.

"I played a good back nine, it could have been a couple better, I felt I left a couple out there," the 24-year-old said.   Continued...

Australia's Adam Scott hits a drive on the second hole during the second round of the Australian Open golf tournament at Royal Sydney Golf Club November 29, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray