Scott makes early charge to lead in Melbourne

Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:25am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Adam Scott showed his growing comfort with the short putter as he lit up Huntingdale Golf Club with a seven-under 64 to take a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Australian Masters on Thursday.

The former world number one made the most of benign conditions on a muggy, overcast morning and rolled in five birdies on his last eight holes on the storied sandbelt course in Melbourne.

Strong winds later in the day made it difficult for the chasing pack but Western Australian Daniel Fox roared home with five birdies on his last five holes to finish with a 65, one off the pace in outright second.

Three other local professionals -- Peter Wilson, Matthew Stieger and Mathew Goggin -- were two strokes further adrift on four-under.

For Scott, now world number 12, it was a pleasing return to form after a forgettable week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, where he finished 70th in the limited field.

"Everything panned out today," Scott, Australia's only U.S. Masters champion, told reporters after his bogey-free round.

"I played really solid so it's nice to see a little bit of the work I've been doing last week and early this week fall into place in the tournament situation."

The 2012 and 2013 winner, Scott is bidding for his third Masters in the last four years but first at Huntingdale, where he missed out in playoffs at the 2002 and 2003 tournaments.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia tees off on the fourth hole during the pro-am of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, China, November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song