Scott's title defense all but over after third round

Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Adam Scott's reign as Masters champion was as good as over after the Australian tumbled down the leaderboard in Saturday's third round.

The fist-pumps and screams of "C'mon Aussie" that marked his breakthrough victory last year were a distant memory as he was unable to conjure up any of that same magic when he won the coveted green jacket.

Saturday was a battle at Augusta National for Scott. He said when he started his title defense that he felt no pressure because he was a champion for life but a cold putter let him down.

His third round of four-over-par 76 saw him fall from equal third at the start of the day to a tie for 16th by the end, leaving him six shots behind the joint leaders, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth.

Scott said he had not quite given up all hope of winning but conceded he needed to shoot a really low score and hope for luck.

"I'm going to have to come out and play a really good front nine. That's my goal at this point," he said.

"I've just got to look at the front nine, and if I can shoot a few under on the front, you never know what can happen here on the back."

The signs were ominous for Scott from the start when he bogeyed his opening hole. One of the best drivers in the game, he was impressive off the tee, hitting 13 of 18 greens in regulation.   Continued...

Australia's Adam Scott reacts after missing a putt on the 13th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 12, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder