Masters champion Scott blows chance to top world rankings

Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:08am EDT
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(Reuters) - Adam Scott on Sunday blew a chance to defend his Masters title as the world number one, receiving a harsh reminder of the capricious nature of golf and the importance of putting.

Scott frittered away a three-shot lead in the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, making just one birdie in a four-over-par 76 as he plunged to finish third behind winner Matt Every at Bay Hill in Orlando.

Instead of overtaking Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings and heading to Augusta in a fortnight as a clear favorite, the 33-year-old Australian again faces questions about the apparent fragility of his putting.

"I'm annoyed I didn't putt at all well today," Scott, who also blew a four-shot lead in the final round at the Australian Open less than four months ago, told Golf Channel.

"I really think the putting is let me down on both those occasions.

"Today was a bit shaky. My short game just wasn't there, so that needs to tighten up. It probably shows I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the most pressure."

Scott scored worse each day, shooting 62 68 71 76.

He had a seven-shot halfway lead and seemed headed for a massive victory. A final round one-over 73 would have been enough to win.

Nobody has blown such a large 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour since Tom Weiskopf also led by seven strokes at the 1975 Westchester Classic.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia looks at his ball as he walks off the 13th green during the first round at the Sony Open golf tournament at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry