Golfers can be superstitious folk and Adam Scott stopped counting his birdies in Wednesday’s Emirates Australian Open pro-am for fear he’d use them all up come the tournament proper.
Reports from onlookers suggested either nine or 10. Whatever his was a rich vein and all thoughts of that horrendous 77 in the third round of the Australian Masters at Huntingdale were well and truly buried.
So, today we asked him a different question – “Adam, when was the last time you didn’t make a birdie in a round of golf?”
Yes, the cup ranneth over with birdies two days ago – today in the second round of the championship that cup was dry.
And, a second Stonehaven Cup, while not exactly out of the question, is going to take two rounds in the mid 60s to be in the hunt from his starting base of two over par that left him trailing early leader Matt Jones by nine shots.
Scott scratched his forehead before answering. It was furrowed enough already after completely frustrating day on the golf course.
Finally he replied: “I can’t recall off the top of my head. Normally I can sneak one in.”
Scott admitted he felt flat when he reported for his 7.05am hit-off in company with Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Queenslander John Senden but it was well disguised. He looked just his normal self, greeting those he knew as he passed by.
“Yesterday was tiring and this is my sixth event in eights weeks and getting out of bed at four o’clock this morning, well, I wasn’t exactly springing out of bed,” he explained afterwards.
Yes, appearances certainly can be deceptive for there was no sign of lethargy in his opening three holes. Not with his iron shots anyway. A regulation two putt par on the opening 10th hole was followed by a quite superb iron shot to the par three 11th.
Quite inexplicably, he three-putted from 12 feet, missing the second from around two feet. Then, on the 12th, he knocked his wedge to three feet – and missed the putt.
Missed putts can lead to cancer of one’s game and, for the next 15 holes, Scott was unable to create a realistic birdie chance. His tally of putts was 34, and that’s not the stuff of winning golf tournaments.
“I just misjudged the pace of the greens for most of the day. I just couldn’t bring myself to hit the putts hard enough. When the greens slow down, I tend to struggle and I did again today,” he said.
“I was hoping to come out and have a good start but I didn’t and this is a tough golf course, if you’re not spot on you can manage to put yourself is some pretty (as in ugly) spots even in better conditions than yesterday.
“I just never got a momentum and never got myself in the right spot, I didn’t make any putts and it’s a hard track.”
Stevie Williams is back on his bag this week and, being the forceful straight shooter that he is, it wouldn’t have surprised if he’d given his boss some strong words.
“Did he give you an ear bash at any stage on the way round?” we asked.
“Not really, I could have given him one,” he said with a laugh. “(I was) getting wet.”
The heavens did open for a spell from the 14th hole, and it came as quite as a surprise as most of the rain appeared centred on the coast.
“(Now) I’ve just got to play two good rounds. I think I can shoot a couple of mid 60s; it’s really do-able if you play good and I’ve just got to put it together,” Scott said.
Yes, he is still adapting to the short putter, and maybe it will take time and work over the summer. But, his was a wretched year with the long putter, ranking 143rd in overall putting on the PGA Tour this year.
His first outing with the short putter was at The Presidents Cup in South Korea and his final day singles win against Rickie Fowler was a 6-5 flogging. All looked good for the future of the short flat stick.
Colsaerts came back from an opening two-over par 73 with a five under 66 and was more than happy – “I played a lot better. I holed a few long ones (putts) and didn’t missed the short putts I missed yesterday so it kind of made sense.”
Scott will be wishing it all makes sense with his game tomorrow.