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PGa Championship

Scott back on top thanks to 'Lytham rhythm'

The Australian has a share of the lead after the opening round at Oak Hill.

MASTERS CHAMPION ADAM Scott is swinging at the PGA Championship with the same relaxed feeling that won him a green jacket and nearly took a Claret Jug twice.

Now the 33-year-old Australian is banking on maintaining his mellow attitude after firing a first-round 65 to match US veteran Jim Furyk for the lead after yesterday’s opening round at Oak Hill.

“If I can go out there with some kind of momentum tomorrow morning off today’s round, I know there is a good score out there,” Scott said.

“Other than trying to shoot as low as you can, I’ve got to just keep playing and worry about whether I’m in front or behind come Sunday.”

Scott made his major breakthrough last April at Augusta National, becoming the first Aussie to win the Masters after having squandered a huge lead nine months earlier with four bogeys in the final four holes to hand Ernie Els the British Open title at Royal Lytham.

But Scott said he found a care-free, easygoing rhythm at Oak Hill in round one that reminded him of how he built his lead at Lytham.

“When you get something going for you at a major, sometimes you have got to not be afraid to get out of your own way and let go and I did that at Lytham and I did that here for 10 or 11 holes,” Scott said. “It’s a good feeling when you can swing freely like that.”

Scott ran off five birdies in a row starting at the par-5 fourth, but only after escaping the first with a par after a woeful tee shot.

“A poor tee shot on one and in trouble right from the start. To make a bit of a curler on the first to settle down is very nice,” Scott said.

After a 70-minute rain delay halted his round with eight holes to go, he returned to a tough par-3 11th and rescued a par there as well.

“It’s always tough with a rain delay when you are playing really well,” Scott said. “I don’t think it cost me any shots.

“To have 234 (yards), par-3 with your first shot is a little tough. I pulled it and then just had to go and do the whole settling down thing again like teeing off at the first. I managed a good up and down on that 11th hole. That settled me down again and got me back in rhythm.”

But Scott, who flirted with the Oak Hill course record of 64 shared by Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange, could feel his round falling apart over the final holes.

“After playing so well, I was starting to feel it slip coming in on the last three holes,” Scott said.

“Was scrambling and not quite in the same rhythm I was in. It was disappoiinting to drop one on 16 but that can happen on these tough courses.”

At the 18th, Scott salvaged par with a 10-foot putt capping his day.

“To make one on 18 and get something out of the round that I felt could have been special was a nice feeling,” he said. “I did play very well and it’s nice to have 65 to show for that.”

Selected tee times (Irish time) for day two:

12:25: Darren Clarke (NIR), Tom Watson (USA), Paul McGinley (IRL)

13:15: Rory McIlroy (NIR), Vijay Singh (FIJ), Martin Kaymer (GER)

13:35: Adam Scott (AUS), Justin Rose (ENG), Phil Mickelson (USA)

17:15: Graeme McDowell (NIR), Ernie Els (RSA), Bill Haas (USA)

17:20 Rob Labritz (USA), John Senden (AUS), Shane Lowry (IRL)

17:25: David Toms (USA), Padraig Harrington (IRL), Yang Yong-Eun (KOR)

17:45: Davis Love (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Tiger Woods (USA)

- © AFP, 2013

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