Scott leads Australian Open by 4 shots
SYDNEY (AP) — Adam Scott shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a four-shot lead over Rory McIlroy heading into the final round of the Australian Open and move closer to a rare Australian triple crown.
Scott is trying to match Robert Allenby’s 2005 accomplishment of winning the Open, Australian Masters and Australian PGA in quick succession.
Scott followed his course record 62 on the first day with a second round 70 and Saturday’s round which comprised six birdies and four bogeys, moving to 16-under 200 for the tournament.
McIlroy started the day two shots behind Scott but lost ground with a bogey and double-bogey against five birdies, finishing with a round of 70.
Australians Richard Green, Matthew Jones and Max McCardle shared third place at 8-under, eight shots off the pace.
Scott’s round on Saturday means he is now 51 under par for his three tournaments in Australia this summer.
“To win my national championship tomorrow and then also win the three events down here is an unbelievable spot to be in,” Scott said. “If you’d told me that a month ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“Before this month started, I hadn’t won two tournaments in a row ever,” the US Masters champion told reporters. “So to have this opportunity is a bit unreal.”
Scott said he would sleep easier afer holing a six-foot biride putt on the last Saturday, then watching McIlroy miss a birdie putt from closer range, producing a two-stroke swing that gave the local a pronounced advantage.
“One round away and a lot can happen,” he said. ”(There’s) a phenomenon behind me as well so I’m sure he’s going to throw plenty at me tomorrow.
“I’m going to have to do a couple of things better than I did today. But as long as the eye stays in with the putter, I should be able to hang on. To finish it off tomorrow would be an incredible way to end the year.”
McIlroy said his missed birdie chance on 18 had been costly.
“It was big,” he said. “It would have been nice to birdie that to make the gap from four to three.”
Jason Day, with whom Scott won the World Cup of golf for Australia last week, fired the day’s equal-best round of 66 to briefly take the clubhouse lead but eventually that was scaled back to a tie for 10th.