Frustrations now behind him, Adam Scott to play in final group at Memorial

adam scott Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Frustrations now behind him, Adam Scott to play in final group at Memorial

PGA Tour

Frustrations now behind him, Adam Scott to play in final group at Memorial

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DUBLIN, Ohio – On Saturday night of last year’s Memorial, Adam Scott went to sleep with thoughts of qualifying for the U.S. Open.

On this Saturday night ahead of the Memorial’s final round, his head will hit the pillow with thoughts of winning Jack Nicklaus’ annual bash.

Scott’s resurgent season continued in the third round at Muirfield Village as the former world No. 1 and 2013 Masters champion shot a 6-under-par 66 to finish 54 holes at 13 under and just two shots behind leader Martin Kaymer.

Scott, who tied for eighth in the PGA Championship in his most recent start, finished in a tie for seventh in the Genesis Open and was runner-up in the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens en route to making seven birdies, that last coming on the last hole from 3 feet.

“Sixty-six around here is good any day of the week,” said Scott, 38, who also shot 66 in the second round. “And I felt like I played a little better today than I have the last two days. A few more opportunities that I would have liked to have taken advantage of, but all in all it was really good stuff, solid. And it would be nice to put another one like that on it tomorrow and see what happens.”

Last year at the Memorial, Scott had to make things happen to qualify for the U.S. Open, his game and world ranking having fallen off since his most recent of 14 PGA Tour titles coming in the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship.

MEMORIAL: Tiger shot by shot | Leaderboard

He needed a top-10 in the Memorial to qualify for the national championship two weeks later. He entered the final round in a tie for 11th but shot 73 and tied for 35th. Despite having played five consecutive weeks, Scott made the 11th-hour decision to play in a sectional qualifier the next day in Columbus.

Mentally and physically fried, pride soldiered him through as he qualified for the U.S. Open, his 67th consecutive major.

From there, he’s made a steady rise back to the elite level in the game and now ranked No. 26, he’ll be playing in his 73rd consecutive major in two weeks in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

But first things first – the Memorial.

“There was definitely some frustration in my game 12 months ago at this point,” Scott said. “It wasn’t like I was just playing horrible, but I just really couldn’t get anything to go my way.”

A lot of things have been going his way for some time. Last year he finished third in the PGA Championship and kept rolling. Along the way, he’s changed his trainer, caddie and putter. All are in sync right now.

Scott will play in the final group in the final round with Martin Kaymer, who has been on his own journey out of a lengthy slump. Kaymer, also a former No. 1 and like Scott, also a Players Champion, hasn’t won since the 2014 U.S. Open.

“It’s been a while since we’ve both won out here,” Scott said. “So I’m sure going out tomorrow we’re both really going to want to play well and come away with a win. But also, I feel like there’s a little something extra being the Memorial Tournament. It’s one of those events that you’d really love to have on your résumé before your career is over. I feel very confident here. The course sets up well for me. My game is in good shape. I should go out and just play a really good round of golf tomorrow and see what happens.”

And he’s in a much better place now than he was 12 months ago. Especially in the six inches between his ears.

“I have that sense of calm, which has always suited me on the golf course,” he said. “If the brain is working overtime and stressed and busy like it was last year, it doesn’t look it on the outside, but internal stress levels are there.

“And that’s the difference I feel this year. I definitely walk the course with a calmness.”

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