St­ing of PGA loss eased for Scott by con­fi­dence boost

Golf Asia - - GOLFING TEE BOX -

Adam Scott was stung by a ma­jor loss when he led with four holes re­main­ing, but the pain was eased by the con­fi­dence boost of con­tend­ing at the PGA Cham­pi­onship. The 38-year-old Aus­tralian opened and closed with bo­geys but en­joyed a run of five birdies in seven holes in a third­place show­ing at Bel­lerive, trail­ing only win­ner Brooks Koepka and run­ner-up Tiger Woods.

"If you told me I would have shot these scores at the start of the week, I would have been very pleased. This was some re­ally good golf," Scott said. "It's hard to ra­tio­nal­ize ev­ery­thing af­ter lead­ing with four holes to play. You want to win from that po­si­tion and I feel like

I've led a lot of ma­jors with four holes to play and not won them. But I will be tak­ing con­fi­dence out of that for sure."

Scott, ranked 76th, had not been in the ti­tle hunt so deeply in years, this re­sult is his best US PGA Tour fin­ish in two years. And he needed a spe­cial in­vi­ta­tion from the PGA of Amer­ica just to take part in his 70th con­sec­u­tive ma­jor.

"Def­i­nitely mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion," Scott said. "I don't think it will be rocket sci­ence for us to fig­ure out, you know, the small lit­tle bits that may be miss­ing. If any­thing, this is motivation to kick on a lit­tle bit, make the most of the rest of this year, con­tinue play­ing at this level, and go into next year's sea­son full of con­fi­dence."

Scott was dead­locked with Koepka and one stroke ahead of Woods af­ter his birdie binge ended at the 13th. But Koepka birdied the par-4 15 and par-3 16 to edge clear, while Scott missed a short birdie putt on 17. The Aussie then bo­geyed the last as his chal­lenge fiz­zled.

"I'm pretty disappointed with my­self that I couldn't play the last three holes bet­ter than I did," Scott said. "I had a putt to be one back on 17 and I think that re­ally hurt that I missed that, just not to make it in­ter­est­ing up the last. The putt there was my last hoorah re­ally and just didn't hit it hard enough. And that's a shame."

Scott en­joyed his best fin­ish since win­ning the 2016 WGC event at Do­ral. He had not been bet­ter than ninth in 17 prior US tour starts. "I per­formed well in that sit­u­a­tion and it's not like I'd for­got­ten what to do, play­ing in a fi­nal group of a ma­jor," Scott said. "But there are al­ways things to work on when you're not the win­ner. I cer­tainly want to keep im­prov­ing. I can't stop here."

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