STILL CROUCH­ING

Don’t rule me out in US PGA, says Tiger

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Rochester, New York

Masters cham­pion Adam Scott is swing­ing at the PGA Cham­pi­onship with the same re­laxed feel­ing that won him a green jacket and nearly took a claret jug twice. Now the 33-year-old Aus­tralian is bank­ing on main­tain­ing his mel­low at­ti­tude af­ter fir­ing a first-round 65 to match US vet­eran Jim Furyk for the lead af­ter Thurs­day’s open­ing round at Oak Hill.

“If I can go out there with some kind of mo­men­tum to­mor­row morn­ing off to­day’s round, I know there is a good score out there,” Scott said.

“Other than try­ing to shoot as low as you can, I’ve got to just keep play­ing and worry about whether I’m in front or be­hind come Sun­day.”

Scott made his ma­jor break­through last April at Au­gusta National, be­com­ing the first Aussie to win the Masters af­ter hav­ing squan­dered a huge lead nine months ear­lier with four bo­geys on the fi­nal four holes to hand Ernie Els the Bri­tish Open ti­tle at Royal Lytham.

But Scott said he found a smooth rhythm at Oak Hill in round one that re­minded him of how he built his lead at Lytham.

“When you get some­thing go­ing for you at a ma­jor, some­times you have got to not be afraid to get out of your own way and let go. I did that at Lytham and I did that here for 10 or 11 holes,” Scott said. “It’s a good feel­ing when you can swing freely like that.”

Scott ran off five con­sec­u­tive birdies start­ing at the par5 fourth, but only af­ter es­cap­ing the first with a par af­ter a woe­ful tee shot.

“A poor tee shot on one and in trou­ble right from the start. To make a bit of a curler on the first to set­tle down is very nice,” Scott said.

Af­ter a 70-minute rain de­lay halted his round with eight holes to go, he re­turned to a tough par-3 11th and res­cued par there as well.

“It’s al­ways tough with a rain de­lay when you are play­ing

Other than try­ing to shoot as low as you can, I’ve got to just keep play­ing and worry about whether I’m in front or be­hind come Sun­day.”

ADAM SCOTT ON LEAD­ING AF­TER THE OPEN­ING ROUND OF THE PGA CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

re­ally well,” Scott said. “I don’t think it cost me any shots.

“To have 234 (yards), par-3 with your first shot is a lit­tle tough. I pulled it and then just had to go and do the whole set­tling down thing again like tee­ing off at the first.

“I man­aged a good up and down on that 11th hole. That set­tled me down again and got me back in rhythm.”

But Scott, who flirted with the Oak Hill course record of 64 shared by Ben Ho­gan and Cur­tis Strange, could feel his round fall­ing apart over the fi­nal holes.

“Af­ter play­ing so well, I was start­ing to feel it slip com­ing in on the last three holes,” Scott said.

“I was scram­bling and not quite in the same rhythm I was in. It was dis­ap­poi­int­ing to drop one on 16, but that can hap­pen on th­ese tough cour­ses.”

At the 18th, Scott sal­vaged par with a 10-foot putt to cap his day.

“To make one on 18 and get some­thing out of the round that I felt could have been spe­cial was a nice feel­ing,” he said. “I did play very well and it’s nice to have 65 to show for that.”

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