Date: July 17, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes, St Andrews

Saving shots for a rainy day

Deep into a murky Scottish evening, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman saved shots that might repay them handsomely across the weekend.

The Presidents Cup teammates weren’t in the same group, but both applied resiliency in the same key spots of a savage closing back nine.

Both had edged into red numbers before the turn with the whipping wind largely at their backs.

But both described as “just hanging on” their efforts to come back in winds that Victorian west coast-raised Leishman summed up superbly.

“Going out was like riding your bike from Warrnambool to Port Fairy with the wind at your back in half an hour,” he quipped.

“Coming back was like turning around and having the return trip take three hours.”

So when birthday boy Scott, who turned 35 today, finished 3-4-3 and Leishman almost matched him with 4-4-3, the pair took giant steps through the flailing field.

“Just to get finished was a bonus today. It was getting pretty brutal out there. A lot of hanging on the last two-and-a-half hours,” Scott said.

“Obviously conditions were a little more favourable this morning, so I think 70 this afternoon is pretty good.

Scott said he “got lucky” with his drive down the 16thafter it sailed right on the breeze.

“(But) I took advantage and made a good putt. Ground out 17 like probably everyone is who made a par there. And then made a nice putt on 18.

“That's the kind of thing you need to happen on a tough draw like this afternoon to keep yourself in the tournament, because if you finish 5-5-4, all of a sudden I'm just grinding to even make the weekend.”

Even more impressive for Scott were the two putts he canned for the birdies were both in excess of 8m and a huge boost in confidence.

Leishman said his round was a great building block for the week, especially after needing driver and a pair of 3-irons to reach the par-5 14th, from where he made a super two-putt from 25m to sum up the fight.

“Two under I’m rapt with it. It’s plenty to build on, that’s for sure,” Leishman said.

“I’ve played myself into it rather than out of it, and the couple of bogeys I did have (on 13 and 15) felt like birdies because I played them badly and could have had far worse.

“So very happy to walk away with that, especially with the weather we’ve got forecast.”