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Adam Scott's Ecstasy and Agony at Pebble Beach

Scott watches his tee shot head out of bounds at the 13th - a costly mistake at a critical time. (Photo: USGA / Michael Reaves)
Starting today’s final round of the 119th US Open, Australian, Adam Scott, knew he needed something very special if he was to challenge the leaders and through 12 holes the near-impossible mission of reeling in the 13 players ahead of him and, in the case of Gary Woodland, eight shots ahead, became a distinct possibility.

Scott raced to the turn in 31, the highlight being an eagle at the 6th after his approach from 275 yards finished 14 feet from the hole.

Scott would begin the more demanding back 9 with a birdie at the 10th after his approach from 175 yards finished 6 feet from the hole.

The good shots kept coming when his tee shot at the par 3 12th from nearly 200 yards came to rest 5 feet away and when he converted for birdie Scott had moved to 9 under par and was at that point he was just three from the lead having made up five shots on Woodland in his first 12 holes.

In what must be described as one of the most agonising shots of his career, Scott flared his tee shot out of bounds at the 13th and the momentum he had been building was gone. To his credit he was able to birdie the 14th to get back within but his chance of winning had essentially disappeared over the fence at the 13th.

Scott would also bogey the 16th and 17th holes and he would eventually finish in a share of 7th, admittedly his second-best finish in a US Open, but it was a case of what might have been for the 38-year-old.

Scott would finish seven shots behind the winner Gary Woodland but was four shots clear of Jason Day as the leading Australian, with Marc Leishman another three shots back and Cameron Smith the other Australian to make the cut but finishing well back in the field.

Scott expressed mixed emotions about his performance today and during the week.

“A little disappointing to finish at 6-under when I was standing on the 13th tee at 9-under,” said Scott when speaking to the media immediately after his round.

“Of course you know that if you can just get it in the clubhouse, you never know what can happen. Standing here straight off the green I'm very disappointed in myself, but there was lots of good stuff this week, and enjoyable week on the golf course here for sure.”

Scott was keen to add to his positive thoughts on the week overall highlighting just how well he had performed when his golf swing was not at its best, especially given that his nest event will be the Open Championship at Royal Portrush next month..

“There was lots of positives. Again, I think certainly three of the rounds I wasn't feeling completely in control of my golf swing, but I managed it very well. And my short game is pretty sharp again, but it's very close. And if you're not quite on at U.S. Open and having a top-10 finish, then something is really good.

“There's lots of good stuff all throughout my game. My consistency is there at the moment. But I just need to be a little bit closer going into a Sunday at one of these things. I think that's really the big takeaway. And I'll be working on that. But I like where my game is at, and I think I just have to keep working really hard at it and stay hungry.”

"I'm excited, I haven't played there before (referring to Royal Portrush). Everyone says how spectacular it is. And that's going to be my next event. I can't wait to go play some links. I had some close calls at The Open, too, and I'd like to get stuck in there. I like the way I'm playing going into The Open."

Scott moves back ahead of Jason Day as the leading Australian the World Ranking.

Photo USGA / John Mummert 

For the champion, Woodland, it was not only his first major title but it was his first top twenty finish in now nine US Open appearances.

To say he was a deserved winner is perhaps stating the obvious as he finished as the player with the lowest score but to have led through 36, 54 and eventually 72 holes and hold on in the manner he did showed a resolve not previously displayed and opens the door for more in the years ahead.

To a large extent he has many similarities to the man he beat into second place, Koepka. Apparently unflappable, Woodland appears to possess the perfect temperament for golf at this level, a powerful game and a significantly improved short game making him good enough to contend at this level on many more occasions.

He would hold on to win by three over Koepka who began his final round as if he was going to power his way to a third successive US Open title with four birdies in his first 5 holes. He would however miss a golden opportunity for birdie at the par 5 6th after the perfect tee shot then missed a very makeable birdie opportunity at the 7th.

The momentum had slowed and although he birdied the 11th to get within one he was unable to make any further progress and in fact he would lose ground over the closing stages although the outcome still appeared in doubt until he was unable to birdie the last, despite a magnificent second from 240 yards, and, in the group behind, Woodland saved a magnificent par at the 17th.

Woodland then had two shots up his sleeve as he walked to the 18th tee. Knowing he needed only a bogey to win, he played the 72nd hole conservatively by hitting an iron from the tee and laying up well short of the green with his second. His third finished 30 feet right of the hole and knowing he had three putts to win he made no mistake holing for birdie to extend his winning margin to three.

He described after his round the thought processes he was going through over the closing two holes.

"Brooks has all the power in the world, so I know he could get home on 18. He definitely has a chance to make eagle with that pin. So it was nice to make 3. And then I looked up at the board and saw that, you know, he had made par on the last, which gave me a little cushion on the last.

"I didn't let myself get ahead at all today. Didn't ever let myself think the tournament was over. So I just stayed in it. I knew the putt (at the last) was big. I knew Tiger shot 12-under here when he won in 2000. So I knew and trying to get one more would have been nice. But I would have taken 12 (under) pretty easily too.

For Woodland he will make a significant move in the world ranking from his current 25th ranking to close to the top 12, his highest ever.



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