SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – Tour professionals normally don’t go very long without getting new clubs. In that respect, Adam Scott is much like the rest of his Tour brethren; he put his newest set of Titleist clubs in his bag just before the Presidents Cup a few weeks ago.
The old set of 710 MB irons had a 6-iron of which the Australian was particularly fond. That was the club he hit to the 10th green in the playoff at this year’s Masters – the best shot of his life, he calls it – and the one that set up the birdie putt that secured his first major championship.
It goes without saying that the 6-iron in his new set also is his favorite club.
Tied with Justin Rose with two holes to play Tuesday at the 31st PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Scott hit a 6-iron to 3 inches for an eagle at the par-5 17th. That propelled him to a bogey-free, 7-under 64, the lowest score in the five years that the Grand Slam has been played at Port Royal Golf Course, for a 36-hole total of 8-under 134 and a two-stroke victory.
Rose, the 18-hole leader who was ahead by three strokes with six holes to play, was second with a 69–136. PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner shot 70 to finish third, three strokes behind Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champion. Padraig Harrington, the defending Grand Slam champion who was filling in for Open Championship winner Phil Mickelson, was fourth at 71–145.
“Standing on the 11th tee, it didn’t look like a score like that was going to be possible,” Scott said, “. . . but, I mean, one back and with those three holes to play, anything can happen. I played very well and managed to slowly claw away at Justin.”
Rose began the day two strokes better than Dufner and three ahead of Scott. With birdies on two of the first three holes, including an approach to within 3 inches of No. 1, Scott closed to within one. Rose, however, responded with a run of four birdies, starting at No. 4. He made putts of 4, 10, 8 and 7 feet, respectively, to open a gap of four shots over Scott.
“I got off to a nice start,” Rose said. “It was all going well on the front nine. Nine, 10, 11, 12, that was quite a struggle for everybody, and then it was all Adam, I guess. I struggled and hit one bad shot. I didn’t hit a lot of great shots on the back nine, but I was hanging on.”
Though Rose bogeyed the uphill par-4 ninth, he maintained a three-stroke margin through 12 holes. Then Scott, the world’s No. 2-ranked player, birdied the 13th and 15th, and when Rose hit his tee shot into the hazard en route to a bogey at the 218-yard par-3 16th, his lead had vanished.
“I thought that was one of my better swings of the day, believe it or not,” Rose said of his 4-iron gone awry. “Maybe it was a slightly too-aggressive line, but at no point when I hit it did I think it was going to be at the hazard. I think it would have been hole high. It just kept turning in the breeze.”
When Rose opened the door, Scott took advantage of the opportunity.
“I managed to capitalize on that by hitting such a great shot into 17,” Scott said. “(Justin) played well, and his only mistake, really, was 16. But I took advantage of being back in the hunt.”