Date: August 24, 2007

Scott primed for title tilt

Australian world No.5 Adam Scott lies just four shots behind first-round leader Rory Sabbatini after cruising through the opening round of the Barclays Classic at the Westchester County Club&aposs West Course. Starting on the back nine, a fresh-looking Scott was three-under at the turn after birdies on three of the final four holes before a solitary bogey on the fifth left him at four-under for the round. “I was hitting a lot of good shots my first 10 or 12 holes and then missed a couple greens coming in and managed to save most of them,&apos&apos said Scott, who finished second behind Vijay Singh at last year&aposs event. “But you know, really pretty solid golf.&apos&apos South African Sabbatini carded eight birdies and played bogey-free golf to take the lead with an eight-under-par 63, one stroke ahead of Korean KJ Choi, who also made eight birdies, including four on the final five holes, and American Rich Beem. The quartet of Ernie Els, Brian Gay, Steve Flesch and Carl Pettersson are at six-under. Geoff Ogilvy started well with an opening three-under 68, while fellow Aussies Rod Pampling and Steve Allan are at two-under. Steve Elkington and Mathew Goggin are one stroke further back, while Nick O&aposHern and Aaron Baddeley shot even-par rounds. Robert Allenby had a disastrous six-over 77, while three-time Barclays winner Singh, had three bogeys and a double-bogey in a four-hole stretch to card a four-over-par round and is tied for 116th place. The Barclays Classic is the first leg of the inaugural FedEx Cup playoff series. One of six players missing among this week&aposs 144 entries is world No.1 Tiger Woods, who has cited fatigue following a busy summer schedule. Another two withdrew just prior to the tournament. The top 120 players on the FedEx Cup points list after the tournament go through to next week&aposs Deutsche Bank Championship, with 70 qualifying for the BMW Championship. The playoffs end with the top 30 competing at the Tour Championship in Atlanta from September 13-16 where the overall points leader will win the $12.2 million first prize. Scott, who won the Shell Houston Open earlier this year and tied for 12th at last month&aposs US PGA Championships, is currently 10th on the standings and believes he can now just play his own game without having to worry about making it to next week. “I think you&aposve just got to take it one event at a time,&apos&apos he said. “Fortunately I don&apost really have to think about not playing next week because I know I&aposm going to. I&aposm not in that kind of mode, but it&aposs a good opportunity for me to get some points up early and possibly pick up some ground on the favourite.&apos&apos First Round of The Barclays Playoffs, New York: -8: Rory Sabbatini 63 -7: K.J Choi 64, Rich Beem 64 -6: Brian Gay 65, Steve Flesch 65, Carl Pettersson 65, Ernie Els 65 -5: Briny Baird 66, Heath Slocum 66, Jeff Maggert 66 Also: -4: Adam Scott (Australia) 67 -3: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 68, -2: Rod Pampling (Australia) 69, Steve Allan (Australia) 69, -1: Steve Elkington (Australia) 70, Mathew Goggin (Australia) 70 E: Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 71, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 71, Andrew Buckle (Australia) 73 +1: Nathan Green (Australia) 72 +3: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 74 +4; John Senden (Australia) 75, Peter Lonard (Australia) 71 +6: Robert Allenby (Australia) 77