ADAM Scott showed why he is one of the best in the world with a tenacious fightback on day three of the WGC HSBC Champions in China.
After shooting a humiliating 80 on day two, the former World Number One was all class in a blemish free third round which featured eight birdies to completely erase his catastrophic Friday score.
The 64 was the best round of the day and while he trails leader Hideki Matsuyama by 14 strokes the Queenslander restored his credibility with his remarkable Saturday play.
Teeing off the 10th hole Scott looked to be stuck in neutral with three straight pars but back to back birdies at 13 and 14 were a sign of things to come.
Further gains at 16 and 18 sent the Australian to the turn 4-under but it was his second nine, the front nine of the Sheshan International course, where he needed redemption.
Double bogies at each of the front nine par-5’s on Friday had played a major role in Scott amassing 42 strokes but he was not to be embarrassed a second time, this time covering the journey in 10 shots less.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE WORLD CUP OF GOLF:
Three straight birdies from the second and a fourth at the 7th added up to 4-under-32 and while still too far back to challenge for the title Scott again assumed the mantle of leading Australian and restored his confidence in the process.
At 3-under-par for the 54 holes played Scott is T26, three strokes ahead of fellow Queenslander Scott Hend.
Canberra’s Matt Millar struggled on day three with a 2-over-74 dropping him to 5-over and T62, one shot and three places on the leaderboard ahead of both Jordan Zunic and Marcus Fraser.
Reigning Australian PGA Champion Nathan Holman continued his struggles with a 75 to be 15-over and ahead of only Jimmy Walker.
At the top end of the leaderboard Matsuyama continues to impress with a bogey free 68 on day three to maintain an overnight three shot cushion.
The 24-year-old added four birdies to the 19 he amassed over the opening two rounds to stand at 17-under-par with his nearest challenger the defending champion Russell Knox.
Matsuyama, whose record in two previous appearances at the event was less than stellar, said the key to maintaining momentum was to play smart.
"The first two days, making lots of birdies, it's a lot of fun," he said. "But today, when you're in a position to win, playing smart and making no bogeys was very satisfying to me today.
"Everyone is so good. I know I'm going to have to make some birdies. But I think the key for tomorrow's round will be not making any bogeys."
Rising American star Daniel Berger holds down outright third place at 13-under with Francesco Molinari and Bill Haas sharing fourth at 12-under.
Rickie Fowler and England’s Ross Fisher round out the players at double digits under par, the pair 10-under and sharing sixth place.
Rory McIlroy, who looked to be on the fringes of contention after a promising 66 yesterday, posted a 2-under-70 to be eight shots adrift of Matsuyama.
GOLFING WORLD PLAYER PROFILE ADAM SCOTT:
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