Date: November 25, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Scott burns in Open pro-am

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Adam Scott is in great form on the eve of the Emirates Australian Open. A 63, or something similar, in the pro-am today shows it.

The pro-am format was a teams event so the world No. 12 did not record an official score, but the number 63 was the consensus. "It was something like that,'' said Scott after his round today. "I stopped counting because I didn't want to feel like I was using them all today!''

Back at The Australian where he contended until late in the final round in 2014, Scott is content.

 "It's one of the venues I've been looking forward to coming back to after last year,'' he said. "I really liked what they did here, and it was showing signs of being in fantastic shape going forward. It's in the best shape I think of any golf course I've played this year. It's a real treat to be out here the next few days and this course does suit my eye well.''

Scott won his only national Open in 2009 at New South Wales; he joined 18 other former winners in a ceremonial tee-off today as part of the celebrations for the 100th playing of our most prestigious tournament. "It was a very nice touch to celebrate the 100th playing today, having quite a lot of former champions there,'' he said. "It's nice to just appreciate the great history that this event has. For everyone there, we play a lot of golf and it's a long career, to reflect back on the year that you won is a nice feeling. Every one of us would've done that for a few seconds today.

This week, though, he has caddie Steve Williams back on the bag, the pair are treating the event "like it's a major'', and they are on a mission to beat a field headed by world No. 1 Jordan Spieth. "I'm very fired up to win the Australian Open this week,'' Scott said. "It's got a big feel about it to me. I've been building it up in my own mind just knowing Jordan's coming back to defend, the No. 1 golfer in the world. It's important and it's great that he's here because the whole golfing world will be watching what happens down here because he's here. He's doing a huge favor for Australian golf this week.''

Scott has not won a tournament in 2015, a rare omission for him. He has had big changes in his life, from the birth of his first child, a daughter Bo, and on the golf course some tinkering with his swing. Ultimately, he blames the flat stick. "It'd be a bit rough to blame my daughter for my bad golf so I won't go there. I made some equipment changes this year with shafts, I fiddled with my game a bit and that's a bit dangerous. I got myself not in the most comfortable spot on the golf course, but sorted that out maybe by the middle of the years.

"But really, my putting was poor this year. You just look at the stats, I was so far down the putting, that it doesn't matter how good you hit it, you're going to struggle to beat likes Jason, Jordan and Rory when they're not putting that badly or hitting it that badly. That's what it really comes down to.''

Scott will be using a regulation-length putter this week after ditching the broomstick-style implement he wielded with lethal effect at Augusta National in 2013. He is warming to the change in anticipation of the anchoring ban from January 1. "In the end making a forced change now with the putter is actually good timing. It's refreshing to have something new to work on when I was getting quite frustrated with my putting. When you putt average for a season it definitely has a knock-on effect on the rest of your game, it puts pressure on the rest of your game and your chippping. All of that started suffering a bit. I'm looking to use the back end of this season turning it around and building something good. The confidence with the putter is high at the moment and that's freed me up.''

Scott tees off at 12.05 on Thursday with John Senden and Nicolas Colsaerts.