Elegant Adam Scott Proved His Quality Again at the PGA
Attention has been understandably fixed on eventual victor Brooks Koepka and the thrilling resurgent performance of Tiger Woods, but former world number one Adam Scott enjoyed a welcome renaissance of his own at the PGA Championship, contending throughout on Sunday as he looked to add the year's final major to his Masters title of 2013.
The popular Australian had slipped to 76th in the World Rankings after two years of disappointing results for a player of his undoubted ability. Since winning the WGC at Doral in the March of 2016, his form had declined, but there were positive signs of late, including a top ten finish at the Byron Nelson, qualifying for the U.S. Open to maintain his remarkable 17-year unbroken run of major appearances, and being reasonably close to the lead at Carnoustie last month.
Few would have considered the 38-year-old to be a genuine contender at Bellerive, but he was two shots back of Koepka after 54 holes, following rounds of 70-65-65. Despite a slow start, the man from Adelaide charged with birdies at the seventh, eighth, tenth, 12th and 13th to tie the reigning U.S. Open champion with five holes remaining.
Indeed, the world was captivated by the exploits of Woods ahead, but it was Scott who looked to be the main threat to the admirably composed Koepka in the latter stages, facing a putt for birdie on the 17th that would have left a deficit of just one between the final pairing on the 72nd hole of the centennial edition of this championship. However, using the long putter he so brilliantly utilised at Augusta National half a decade ago, his effort agonisingly missed, and a poor swing off the 18th tee eased any anxiety - not that it was visible - from the mind of Koepka. Scott ultimately dropped a shot on the last to finish in third, one back of Woods and three behind the champion.
"I’m pretty disappointed with myself that I couldn't play the last three holes better than I did," Scott reflected. "I feel like generally 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 or playing in contention late on Sunday in a major.
"I certainly want to keep improving. I can't stop here. I'd like to play really well the next few weeks in the playoffs and try and make a run all the way through and then take some satisfaction out of this year."
Now back inside the elite top 50, Scott will maintain his record of playing in each major since the 2001 Open Championship and will hope to continue this progress with renewed confidence in his swing and game.
"When you find that little thing in the swing, the belief can come very quickly, and it just takes a shot or two out under the pressure to really believe in it. But I think just getting the feeling mentally or psychologically like the old Adam Scott has been helpful as well, just feeling like I'm one of the better players out here."
This most elegant of players certainly reminded us all of that.
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