by Jeff Skinner
If you watched the early rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational you saw Adam Scott put on an impressive display of golf. His opening 62 tied the course record and his second round 68 gave him a seven stroke lead over the field. The announcers on The Golf Channel were ready to hand Scott the trophy as he “lapped the field.”
His game looked flawless and he was poised to claim his eleventh PGA Tour win but Scott has been around the block a few times and unlike many of the new breed on the PGA Tour he lets his clubs do the talking. After his second round Scott knew he had plenty of work to do and voiced how quickly things can go bad on the tour, “I think when you’ve got momentum you’ve got to go with it. . . . You never know when the momentum is going to run out.”
He was right, it ran out Sunday.
Scott’s momentum and touch deserted him early on Sunday as he bogeyed two of his first three holes on his way to a front nine of two over 38. He matched that on his back nine for a final round 76 which cost him any chance at the title.
Scott had made just five bogeys in his first 54 holes; he made five in his final round disaster. It seemed that all aspects of his game deserted him as he found just eight fairways, hit only nine greens and putted horribly. He was realistic afterwards,” I didn’t putt at all well today,” Scott said. “I was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason.”
With his Masters defense a few weeks away losing a 54 hole lead can damage one’s confidence but not Scott’s “I’m annoyed that I didn’t do better today,” Scott said. “Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on yourself. Sometimes you don’t. And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence.”
“If nothing else, it’s a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is,” Scott said. “And if I think back to last year (at Augusta), I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that’s, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win.”
Winning his first major at Augusta last year has allowed Scott to view these poor performances as learning experiences. As well grounded as the Aussie is, this won’t be a mortal blow. But he is absolutely correct… to win at Augusta again he needs that broomstick to work like it did in the first two rounds at Bay Hill. If he putts like he did on Sunday he’ll have plenty of free time on the weekend as he waits to drape a new green jacket on this year’s Masters Champion.