Strange backs Scott to respond to adversity

Mon Apr 7, 2014 1:12pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Curtis Strange was shocked by Adam Scott's meltdown at last month's Arnold Palmer Invitational but the double U.S. Open champion believes the Australian will bounce back at this week's Masters.

The world number two collapsed to a final-round 76 as he tossed away a seemingly unbeatable seven-stroke lead at the Bay Hill course in Florida to finish two shots behind tournament winner Matt Every of the United States.

Masters champion Scott also suffered a late slump at the Australian Open in December when he bogeyed the final hole to lose out to Rory McIlroy by one stroke after the Northern Irishman birdied the 18th.

"It's a surprise to me how he's had big leads in tournaments recently and not been able to hold on for victory," Strange told Reuters in an interview ahead of the opening major championship of the season that starts on Thursday.

"I was shocked about Bay Hill. I thought he would win easily but I still like his chances this week.

"I think the world of Adam Scott, I think the world of his golf game and even though his bad round at Bay Hill was not to his liking you can see he's playing well enough right now."

Strange, who won the U.S. Open in 1988 and 1989, said the 33-year-old Australian has proved enough times in the past that he has the temperament to respond to adversity.

"Two years ago Adam was four up with four to play at the British Open but lost out to Ernie Els," the American said. "Two majors later he won the Masters.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia celebrates sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 14, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Noble