Just as he did last year on the way to his maiden victory in a
major, the Australian world number two shrugged off a shaky start to
the second round, three birdies after the turn helping him card a
level-par 72 at a sun-baked Augusta National.
That left him at three-under 141 in the first of the year's four
major championships, four strokes behind pacesetting American Bubba
Watson, the 2012 winner.
"It was very difficult out there today," Scott told reporters after
recovering from an outward nine of three-over 39 in firm,
fast-running conditions. "Anything even par or better at a major is
normally a good score, especially today.
"It kept me in the tournament. I was certainly aware of 10, 11 and
12 playing difficult and knew that I had to start hitting some
"But I hit two really quality shots on the ninth that felt like the
best swings I had made to that point. I wanted to keep that feeling
for the back nine. I played a really good back nine. It was really
Scott, who had been one stroke off the pace overnight, sprayed his
opening tee shot into a fairway bunker en route to a bogey at the
par-four first, and also faltered at the fourth and fifth to slide
back to level par for the tournament.
AMEN CORNER SURGE
However, he resurrected his title bid with birdies over the last two
holes of the iconic Amen Corner stretch.
Scott struck a superb tee shot to five feet at the par-three 12th,
which he had double-bogeyed in the opening round, and coolly knocked
in the putt.
He then got up and down from behind the green to birdie the par-five
13th before picking up another shot at the par-five 15th.
"There's no doubt I'm a much more patient player the last few
years," said the 33-year-old from Adelaide. "As I made a few bogeys,
I remembered I did last year on Friday on the front nine as well.
[to top of second column]
"I shot 39-33, I believe, last year, just like this. It doesn't mean
just because you did it last year you're going to do it again, but
there's always opportunities to hit good shots on the back nine.
"And I felt it was so important to get through 10, 11, and 12
without dropping another shot, so I could get to 13 and 15 and maybe
create some chances for eagle or at least have good looks at
Mission accomplished for Scott, who did well to salvage par at the
last where he missed the fairway to the left off the tee, his ball
ending up behind a pine tree from where he struck his second shot
into a greenside bunker.
"Fortunate par, maybe, at the last, but you got to take advantage of
a bit of luck out of the trees," said Scott, who won last year's
Masters in a thrilling playoff with Argentina's Angel Cabrera.
"It (72) wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but given
everything, I'm absolutely satisfied with that. It just means
tomorrow's round's extremely important for me. It's going to have to
be maybe the best round of the week."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.