Despite not feeling his best health-wise, including a fever, Adam Scott fired a 10-under 62 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Wielding his long putter, it seemed like he made *everything.*
“Obviously I’m really thrilled with the start today,” said Scott in his post-round press conference. “It’s maybe a little surprising. I don’t know where it came from, but the putter certainly got hot today.”
At one point on his second nine (the front), he had six one-putts in a row. Scott only needed 23 putts on Thursday on his way to his record-tying low score at Bay Hill.
“I made a lot of putts today and a lot of putts from considerable length, I think,” he said. “I hit a lot of nice shots, too, but it wasn’t like I was hitting it for four feet. I had a round like this in Australia at the end of the last year, in the first six holes I didn’t hit it outside five feet. There’s lots of different ways to get the ball in the hole.
“But it’s good for the confidence. It’s what I wanted. I sat in here yesterday and said I’d like to make some birdies and build the confidence, and today is a good start to that.”
Scott was clearly not feeling his best as he garnered the little energy he had left to meet with the press corps.
“It’s hard to say that I’m sick,” said Scott. “But I’ve struggled the last couple of days with a bit of flu-like fever and stuff.”
The 2013 Masters champion couldn’t complain, though — perhaps it had something to do with his red-hot round.
“I feel actually better now than when I woke up,” said Scott, smiling. “But I’m just a bit under the weather. I can’t complain.”
As the saying goes, beware the sick golfer! — which is something the Australian subscribes to believing.
“It takes your mind off and the expectations lower, slows you down and almost takes your mind off what’s going on, because you’re not even feeling human sometimes,” he said.
“So I went out there today just trying to get the ball around and it was really one shot at a time, all those cliches. But that kind of happens when you’re feeling ordinary, you’re just trying to make it to the next shot and do the best you can. And I wasn’t feeling that bad but it was a slow start to the day.
“But I’ve played a lot feeling like this and sometimes it works in your favor, just by lowering the expectation a little bit and having no feeling, not even a nervous feeling. You’re just more interested in feeling better than playing golf.”
Though the afternoon wave is still out on the golf course, Scott is four strokes clear of the rest of the morning pack, with the closest competitor being Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. (*Update: Ryo Ishikawa and John Merrick shot a pair of seven-under 65s.)
To be clear, Bay Hill certainly wasn’t for the taking on Thursday — the course was playing tough and the greens were extremely firm. Scott just had his A-game and made it look easy.
“Probably,” said Scott when asked if today’s round ranked in the top-five of his career. “It’s going to be right there. I mean when I think about that, I shot 62 at Muirfield Village one year and that was the low score by five or six that day and I thought it was a really hard set up and that might have been the best round of golf I ever played.
“And the only other one that comes straight to mind is a 61 in Qatar in the final round to win. But this is going to be right there in the mix. It’s a tough golf course. There are good scores out there, but to keep it going around here is tough because the penalties are severe. It’s going to be right up there. I haven’t spent any time ranking them yet, though.”
Even Scott’s playing partners were impressed — at least Patrick Reed was.
“To see how he was putting and hitting some golf shots out there it was impressive,” said the 23-year-old who just won the WGC-Cadillac Championship two weeks ago. “It seemed like he was in complete control of his game. And he was reading his putts really well and hitting his lines.”
With a win this week, Scott has a chance to overtake Tiger Woods in the world rankings and rise to no. 1 in the world before the Masters.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)