ADAM Scott's chance at becoming world number one this week has taken a hit but is far from dead after strong gusts wreaked havoc at the World Golf Championships event in Miami.
Winds whipped up to 52 kilometres an hour around Trump National Doral's Blue Monster as the newly re-designed course lived up to its name.
On a day when players completed the rain-delayed first round and then backed up for round two, just four of the 68 in the world-class field boasting 49 of the top-50 players on the planet finished under par.
The par-72 course averaged out at 76 as 107 balls ended up in the water in the second round with Americans Dustin Johnson (74), Patrick Reed (75), Matt Kuchar (74) and Hunter Mahan (74) holding sway at one-under 143 to share the lead.
Scott, who started the day just one shot off the lead at two-under par, played 26 holes in six-over to finish at four-over in a tie for 21st but he is within striking distance at five back.
The killer stretch came early in the morning as the 33-year-old was five-over for the final eight holes of round one for a 75.
His grinding afternoon 73 featured three late birdies to rescue him from oblivion where at one point the Queenslander was 10 shots off the lead.
Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy (74) and Graeme McDowell (71) plus Italy's Francesco Molinari (75) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (70) shared fifth at even par.
"It's obviously very very difficult when it's blowing," Scott said.
"Everything was tough out there today. There were some long holes and tough pins out there.
"I shot one-over in the afternoon and I'm giving myself a pass mark with the average at 76. It is very tricky and demanding with so much water."
Asian Tour regular Australian Scott Hend joined Scott at four-over but was disappointed given he dropped five shots over his final eight holes.
Scott would move to world No.1 if he won the event and current No.1 Tiger Woods finished worse than fifth.
The American is living up to his half of the equation with 76-73 to be one shot worse than Scott at five-over and tied 25th.
Brett Rumford continues to struggle near the foot of the leaderboard, shooting 83-79 to be second last at 18-over.
Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.