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Australian comes to town with spirits running high

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Adam Scott rode a wave of momentum into the locker room at Augusta National Golf Club on Monday.

Scott (File)

He'd just conquered the Houston Open with a final-round 66 the day before. The Australian saved par on his final hole with a 50-foot putt after hitting his tee shot into the water.

He was congratulated on that effort with a few "nice putts" from his peers on his way to his locker. He's hoping to take advantage of the momentum now that he's in Augusta.

"Obviously, my hopes are high now coming off a win," said Scott, who arrived at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. "There are a lot of positive thoughts swirling in my head."

The victory vaulted him two spots higher in the World Golf Ranking. Scott is now ranked third behind Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

That's his highest ranking. Scott, who has won in two of his past six starts heading into his sixth Masters, was ranked 11th before last year's tournament.

"I'm heading into this week as prepared and as confident as I've ever been here," he said.

Scott was hyped about being named one of golf's next big things a few years ago, but his showing in the majors have been spotty. O ther golfers expect big things from the Australian, however.

"I said to someone earlier this year that I think he will be the No. 2 player in the world at the end of the year," Tim Clark recounted. "He's got every facet.

He hits it long and is probably one of the straightest hitters on the tour. He's got the complete game to win majors and a lot of other events."

The 26-year-old Australian said his game has matured since he turned pro in 2000.

" Part of it is becoming a more experienced player," he said. "It's just that I handle myself better and knowing the course better. ... I started playing these things when I was pretty young. Probably then I didn't believe in winning majors. I just dreamt of winning. Whereas now, after a few years and some good results in majors and the tour , I believe in myself a little more."

His strategy for this week also has evolved over the years.

"The main one for me at Augusta is being too defensive," Scott said. "Definitely not too aggressive. The penalty for bad shots is so severe. You can play too defensive here. I've done that."

Scott said he felt pretty good about last year's Masters despite finishing 27th.

"I liked how it ended," he said. "I just hit the shots where I saw them. I was aggressive where I felt like I should be instead of worrying about getting around the course. I just went out and played golf. That's the way I need to do it this year."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

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