Adam Scott went to China this week talking up his chances of a win, then put himself in the frame immediately in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Scott’s resurgence in the past 12 months is plain – he is back as Australia’s top-ranked player and No.16 in the world – but for all that, it has not come with a win.
His last victory was in the Cadillac Championship in March, 2016, and it bothers him.
Seven birdies and a lone bogey at Sheshan International gave him an opening 66 and left him tied-third, just two shots from the lead, held by China’s Haotong Li.
The leaderboard had a flavor that would have pleased International team captain Ernie Els ahead of next month’s Presidents Cup. Li and Scott will both be at Royal Melbourne and so, most likely, will be South Korea’s Sungjae Im (66).
Scott said driving was at a premium this week. “It plays tough if your’e not in the fairway,” he said. “The rough is really nasty this year and it’s firmer than I remember it. You really have to be in the fairway to give yourself any kind of a look.”
The Australian said he had been working on his swing, because “I haven’t had any good feelings about where the club is in downswing”.
Of the other Australians, Matthew Millar also enjoyed a good day, shooting 69, and Jake McLeod had a 70 along with Cameron Smith.
Meanwhile in the Bermuda Championship, Queenslander John Senden bounced out after three consecutive missed cuts and shot a 65 to be in the mix.