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Scott hopes Masters experience finally pays off

Sunday, April 10, 2011

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Nine Masters Tournament appearances and, with the exception of a top-10 finish his first time around, Adam Scott has little to show for it.

Australian Adam Scott tied for low round with 67 on Saturday, despite bogeys on Nos. 10, 16 and 18. His best finish is a tie for ninth in 2002. (Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff)

Attempt No. 10 might be different.

The 30-year-old Australian shot 5-under 67 on Saturday, continuing his dominance on the par-5s with another eagle at 13 to move into a tie for sixth place and five strokes off the lead. His 67 tied for low round of the day.

It's a different feel today for a Masters veteran who hasn't come within two strokes of 67 in 14 weekend rounds at Augusta.

"My record here isn't horrible, but never really in contention, always middle of the pack," he said. "It took me a long time to figure out why. I'm not bringing my best game into the majors, yet the week after or the week before, I can win. I've done that a fair few times. It's hard to figure out."

Putting woes have cost him in the majors to the point that he switched to a long putter in late January after a missed cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

He took just 26 putts Saturday and has just one 3-putt green in the tournament.

"Adam has been playing well for a long time," said his new swing coach and brother-in-law, Brad Malone. "He hit a lot of good putts yesterday, but they just weren't going in. We're super excited to see him making some putts."

Many in his homeland feel the same. Australia has yet to produce a Masters champion, despite several heart-breaking efforts from Greg Norman and one from Stuart Appleby in 2007. Both Australians held the 54-hole lead before faltering on Sunday.

Scott, who said his entire house "was almost near tears" as they watched Norman's 1996 collapse, said it's only a matter of time before his country gets a green jacket. Scott, along with today's playing partner Jason Day and Geoff Ogilvy, could be the Australian to do it.

"For some reason it has not happened, but it's nice to see a few of us up there this year," Scott said. "You know, one good round is all it is for Jason or maybe myself or Geoff. One good round and an Aussie can earn this championship."

His one good round Saturday came with a 5-under performance on the par-5s, including his second eagle of the tournament at the 13th. He's 11-under on the par-5s this week. Add in Scott's experience -- he has more rounds at Augusta under his belt than Ogilvy and Day combined -- and he just might have a chance.

"That's one thing that's going for me going into tomorrow, I guess. I have played the course a lot," he said. "I think I've certainly played enough rounds of golf to almost understand everything here."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

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