Eighteen holes separate Adam Scott from capturing the Australian Open title and completing the coveted “Triple Crown.” The only player who poses a threat is two-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who is still winless this year.
After Scott posted a four-under 68 in the third round on Saturday, he took a four-shot lead over McIlroy, who struggled early in the round but rallied to shoot a two-under 70 and keep a bit of pressure on Scott for the final round.
“I played a good back nine, it could have been a couple better, I felt I left a couple out there,” the 24-year-old said. “But obviously I’m four back now and I’ve got a tough job on my hands to try and catch Adam.”
If Scott can hold off McIlroy on Sunday, it’ll be a perfect end to his perfect season, with the highlight being the first Australian to win the Masters, of course.
“It’s an exciting position to be in, obviously a great chance to win my national championship tomorrow,” Scott, who has already won the Australian PGA and Masters titles this month, told reporters, via Reuters.
“And then also win the three events down here which is an unbelievable spot to be in. If you’d told me a month ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“One round to go but a lot can happen. It’s a phenomenon playing behind me and I’m sure he’s going to throw plenty at me… but as long as the eye stays in with the putter, I think I should hold on.”
Rory, who is finally rounding into form at the end of the year (thanks to some equipment changes), could have been a shot closer to Scott. However, the former world no. 1 missed a four-footer for birdie on the 18th hole to close the third round, which was a downer for Rory and a boost for Scott, according to the Herald Sun:
“It was big,” McIlroy lamented.”I hit a good putt, but I just misread the green.”
Thanks to that lapse, Scott will wake this morning more relaxed, his destiny in no one else’s hands with the next closest rivals – Max McCardle, Matthew Jones and Richard Green – eight shots adrift. “Four shots (over McIlroy) is a slightly better buffer,” Scott said.
“It doesn’t mean that it can’t disappear quickly, but it does mean they have to do something to eat away.
Scott will be trying to match Robert Allenby’s achievement in 2005, when the fellow Australian won the Open, the Australian Masters and the Australian PGA all in a row.
As if Scott’s year could turn into more of a fairy tale, but, oh, it can!
“To win my national championship tomorrow and then also win the three events down here is an unbelievable spot to be in,” Scott said, via the AP. “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. So to have this opportunity is a bit unreal.”
McIlroy and Scott are paired in the final round together, which is just about to get underway. If you’re not watching football tonight, I suggest you tune in — sounds like this will be a duel worth watching.