Scott to take on course de­mons

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

ADAM Scott is poised to ex­or­cise Bri­tish Open de­mons at St An­drews af­ter a string of calami­tous near misses.

The US Mas­ters win­ner be­lieves he has fi­nally “got to grips with links golf” af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond, third and equal fifth at his past three Open at­tempts.

The Queens­lan­der, who turns 35 to­day, said the scars of a hor­ren­dous fi­nal- round col­lapse at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012 have healed.

Lead­ing by four strokes with four holes to play, Scott’s hopes dis­solved in a fog of poor course man­age­ment and nerves as Ernie Els tri­umphed.

Two years ago, he led at Muir­field with seven holes to play, only to drop to a share of third in the face of Phil Mick­el­son’s un­stop­pable last- round surge.

With cold, blus­tery con­di­tions forecast over the next four days, Scott says the harsh lessons from 2012 and ’ 13 will serve him well.

“I felt like I took a huge step that week ( at Royal Lytham and St Annes),” he said. “The last two years, fol­low­ing on from that I’ve had top five re­sults.

“It shows me I’ve got to grips with links golf and I’d like to put it all to­gether this week and fi­nally win.”

Paired along­side Ger­man Martin Kaymer and Amer­i­can Jimmy Walker in the open­ing round, Scott has spent the past week on the Old Course soak­ing up its nu­ances.

Re­cent rain has left St An­drews soft and lush but Scott hopes the pre­dicted winds blow – and hard.

“I’d like it to blow windy this week, I’m strik­ing the ball well and it’s gonna play into my favour,” he said.

“You can’t be over- pre­pared for this one, so to come here for a week ( and) just get com­fort­able at least.

“You never know what it’s go­ing to throw up at you – your plan could go out the door when you wake up and it’s some odd wind.

“I’m go­ing to tee up Thurs­day feel­ing com­fort­able.”

One of 15 Aus­tralians in the field, Scott says if St An­drews bares its fangs – es­pe­cially Satur­day when the winds are tipped to peak – skill and imag­i­na­tion will be vi­tal.

“There’s cre­ativ­ity and con­trol re­quired around links cour­ses,” he said. “Maybe less as it’s a lit­tle softer but any­one in the field has the abil­ity well enough to win.

“It’s a mat­ter of ex­e­cut­ing. You have to hit the ball well in the wind, con­trol the shot some­where near where you were think­ing, oth­er­wise it can re­ally get away from you.

“There is a big ad­just­ment com­ing to play links golf when 51 other weeks of the year you don’t re­ally play this style.

“Pulling a four iron for a 165 yards as a nat­u­ral in­stinct takes a few fair rounds to get used to.

“That’s why I like com­ing early and, for me, it takes more than three days.”

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