Scott battles into contention at windy Australian Masters

Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:30am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number five Adam Scott held firm in blustery conditions to finish three strokes back of journeyman Matthew Guyatt after the second round of their home Australian Masters on Friday.

Joint-second overnight, Scott grinded his way through a gusty afternoon to card a two-under-par 70 for a seven-under total of 137 and raise hope of his first tournament win this year after a frustrating season of near-misses.

"It was a tough day. The wind was pretty strong, at least two clubs I'd have to say," the 32-year-old Scott, in outright third, told reporters.

"It firmed the course up from yesterday. We had a different set of greens than we dealt with yesterday, so I had to be very careful and not try my luck too much ... I think I'm in pretty good shape."

Scott fared the best of the tournament's marquee players, with title holder Ian Poulter falling five off the pace with a 70 and former major winner Graeme McDowell crashing to a 77.

Northern Irishman McDowell had a dream start with an eagle and a birdie on his first two holes, but racked up six bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-four sixth to tumble to four-over for the tournament.

Ducking in and out of bushes to retrieve his ball, the 2010 U.S. Open winner also struggled on the slick greens, saying he could not remember putting worse.

"The harder I tried the worse I got and it was just one of those humbling days but hopefully that will slip in for the weekend and get two more days on this great golf course," he said after just sneaking inside the cut line at four-over.   Continued...

Adam Scott of Australia hits a shot on the 10th hole during the third round of the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament in Sentosa November 11, 2012. REUTERS/Edgar Su