ADAM Scott says he was off with the fairies as he lost two balls on one hole to fall way off the World Cup pace.
The previously in-form world No.2 carded a quintuple-bogey nine on Royal Melbourne's par 4 12th hole as he shot four-over-par 75, to be nine shots off the lead, after his opening round on Thursday.
His initial tee shot went way right and he lost it.
His second went deep into a thick grove of trees and he was unable to play that either.
That meant his third attempt off the tee counted as his fifth shot.
Even that found the rough, his sixth went over the green and he needed a chip and two more putts to complete the horror hole.
"Just a couple of lazy swings today on 12 and I paid the price," Scott told reporters.
"I was just away with the fairies on that hole."
That hole aside, it would have been a reasonable round for the world No.2, who entered the tournament as favourite after winning the Australian PGA and Masters over the past two weeks.
He said it had been inevitable a lapse would come at some point.
"It's golf, it's going to happen. You just can't play good all the time," Scott said.
And he's not counting himself out of the tournament, saying with Royal Melbourne's greens getting slicker, shooting low scores will be tough and he might not need anything too spectacular to rein in the leaders by Sunday.
"If I can plug away at it I'll maybe claw my way back into it," Scott said.
Dane Thomas Bjorn was the clubhouse leader after shooting a five-under 66.
American Kevin Streelman was also on five under with five holes to play.
Scott's Australian teammate Jason Day was two shots off the lead, on three under after 12 holes.
That meant Scott and Day, who had been hot favourites to win the World Cup for Australia, were on a joint total of one over.
Denmark were the leading team, with Thorbjorn Olesen on one under, taking he and Bjorn cumulatively to six under, leaving the Australians seven shots off the pace.
American Matt Kuchar shot 71, meaning he and Streelman were in second place on five under.
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