Scott’s back on strike

Golf champ re­turns to LA course with new tricks

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT -

ADAM Scott has chal­lenged him­self to re­store his ball­strik­ing bril­liance or get left be­hind at the LA Open at Riviera Coun­try Club this week.

Usu­ally world-class from tee to green, Scott has ex­celled on the fa­mous LA course which favours long and ac­cu­rate hit­ting from the US PGA Tour play­ers.

In nine pre­vi­ous starts, the Queens­lan­der boasts a win and two run­ner-up re­sults among four top 10s.

But the 37-year-old’s silky swing seemed to desert him oc­ca­sion­ally dur­ing a win­less 2017, slip­ping to 25th for strokes gained in ap­proach play af­ter rank­ing first the pre­vi­ous year.

With per­fect con­di­tions fore­cast this week — a wel­come change from the rain in­ter­rup­tions the LA Open has be­come known for — Scott says it’s time to put the foot down.

“It’s where my ball strik­ing has got to step up; you need to drive it in the fairway and then hit it in the right spots on the greens and that’s what I’ve done here in the past,” said Scott, who tied for sec­ond at Riviera in 2016 be­fore win­ning his next two events.

“If you don’t it be­comes re­ally hard to scram­ble for par.

“But the rough looks a bit (shorter) than pre­vi­ous years, so there should be some lower scores and you can’t be afraid to go low with good con­di­tions.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to that chal­lenge be­cause it’s my favourite course on tour.”

Scott spent De­cem­ber and Jan­uary fine­tun­ing his equip- ment af­ter shut­ting down fol­low­ing the Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onship.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played tour­na­ment golf and I’ve made some changes; I’m ac­tu­ally us­ing the (Titleist) ProV1x ball now and I’ve also been work­ing with the short put­ter (again),” said Scott, who used the long, broom­stick­style put­ter at Royal Pines.

The for­mer Masters win­ner made his 2018 de­but at last week’s Peb­ble Beach Pro Am, where he opened with a sloppy 77 and de­spite im­prov­ing dra­mat­i­cally there­after he missed the 54-hole cut.

But Scott says end­ing an eight-year ab­sence from the event was a good de­ci­sion as it al­lowed him to blow off the cob­webs.

“There was lots of good stuff from tee to green; the qual­ity of strike was good and I like that be­cause that’s a fo­cus for me this year - to get back to my best ball-strik­ing,” Scott said.

Join­ing Scott in the field are fel­low Aus­tralians Aaron Bad­de­ley, Greg Chalmers, Marc Leish­man, Cameron Smith and Ge­off Ogilvy. Head­lin­ers in­clude world No. 1 Dustin John­son, 14-time ma­jor win­ner Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas as well as Jor­dan Spi­eth and Rory McIl­roy.

SWING KING: Adam Scott is chang­ing things up in 2018 af­ter a win­less cam­paign last year.

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