Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Adam Scott steams ahead, Tiger Woods lurks

AFP , AKRON, OHIOAFP, RENO, NEVADA

Australia's Adam Scott seized the first-round lead of the Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday, continuing the solid form that saw him finish tied for third at the PGA Championship.

Scott, 26, nabbed nine birdies in his last 12 holes en route to a seven-under 63 in the US$7 million limited field event.

He held a two-shot lead over American Jason Gore, with Lucas Glover lying third on 66.

Tiger Woods, who claimed his 12th major title on Sunday with his triumph at the PGA Championship at Medinah, birdied the 16th and 18th to head a group of six players sharing fourth place on 67.

That group that included New Zealander Michael Campbell,, Englishmen David Howell and Luke Donald and Americans Davis Love and David Toms. Toms, the 2001 PGA champion, chipped in for birdie at the 17th.

Scott, still seeking his first victory this year, turned in one of the best finishing rounds at Medinah on Sunday, but his charge came too late to worry Woods.

He was pleased to continue his strong form here.

"That was my hope coming into this week, to keep playing like I did last week," Scott said. "I really had it going Sunday. It was something today to keep the good vibes going and carry over here. It was a very cruisy kind of round, and the birdies just kept flowing. I hit a lot of good iron shots and really took the pressure off my putting."

Scott said he had played just nine holes in three "lazy days" since the PGA Championship concluded.

That may have contributed to a slow start. Scott teed off at the 10th and immediately dropped a shot after his drive bounced into heavy rough. It was his only missed fairway of the day.

He got back to even par at 16, where he hit a wedge to seven feet and made it.

Driving the ball long and straight and hitting some masterful wedges, he birdied eight of his last 10 holes, his only other miscue a bogey at the fourth.

His longest birdie was a 19-footer at the eighth. His six-under 29 on the front nine, his inward run, matched the competitive record on the South Course set by Tom Weiskopf in the final round of the 1977 World Series of Golf.

Toms wasn't surprised by Scott's performance.

"He's a great player," Toms said. "I'm surprised he doesn't do it more often, to be honest with you. The guy's riding high and played a great round on Sunday. I saw the board, he didn't get off to a very good start. It might be one of those cases where he was a little bit tired and was just kind of ho-hum and then all of a sudden started hitting good shots and recalling what he did last week. That happens a lot in golf."

Scott said he'd look forward to a chance to go head-to-head with the defending champion, Woods.

"I expect him to do well," Scott said. "He's playing great with a lot of confidence and loves it here, obviously. I'll try and keep pace with him. Hopefully he'll give me a couple-[shot] start today and I won't have to work too hard the rest of the week to keep up with him."

"It would be great to play with him on Sunday. That's what we're all out here for, to see how good we are and try and give the guy a challenge every once in a while," he said.

The field of 78 for the World Golf Championships event at Firestone Country Club includes 47 of the world's top 50.

Will MacKenzie nabbed three eagles on Thursday to grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the US$3 million Reno-Tahoe Open.

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