Back nine surge keeps Scott in Masters contention

Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:44pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Adam Scott, who has honed the art of patience at the majors in recent years, kept his Masters title defense on track with a superb back nine in difficult conditions on Friday.

Just as he did last year on the way to his maiden victory in a major, the Australian world number two shrugged off a shaky start to the second round, three birdies after the turn helping him card a level-par 72 at a sun-baked Augusta National.

That left him at three-under 141 in the first of the year's four major championships, four strokes behind pacesetting American Bubba Watson, the 2012 winner.

"It was very difficult out there today," Scott told reporters after recovering from an outward nine of three-over 39 in firm, fast-running conditions. "Anything even par or better at a major is normally a good score, especially today.

"It kept me in the tournament. I was certainly aware of 10, 11 and 12 playing difficult and knew that I had to start hitting some quality shots.

"But I hit two really quality shots on the ninth that felt like the best swings I had made to that point. I wanted to keep that feeling for the back nine. I played a really good back nine. It was really solid."

Scott, who had been one stroke off the pace overnight, sprayed his opening tee shot into a fairway bunker en route to a bogey at the par-four first, and also faltered at the fourth and fifth to slide back to level par for the tournament.

AMEN CORNER SURGE   Continued...

Australia's Adam Scott hits a shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar