Tenacious Scott ends long wait for victory

MIAMI • Adam Scott's one-shot victory at the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday earned him not only a 12th PGA Tour title but also the best possible validation that his revised putting technique is now paying off.

With a ban on anchoring putters to the chin or chest coming into effect this year, the Australian had tried to wean himself off his broomstick putter during his campaign last year but experienced several setbacks.

The 35-year-old returned to the comforts of the longer putter in golf's biggest events when the pressure was at its most intense before committing for good to the conventional stick at the Presidents Cup in October, when he again struggled.

Gradually, though, the change bedded in and Scott, increasingly confident on the greens, produced three runner-up finishes in his last seven starts worldwide before winning at the Honda Classic, ending a title drought of almost two years.

"My game's come into a really good spot the back end of last year and now starting out this year," he told NBC Sports after carding a level-par 70 on the PGA National layout at Palm Beach Gardens to total a nine-under 271, beating Spaniard Sergio Garcia by one shot. Americans Justin Thomas (69) and Blayne Barber (70) shared a distant third on 275.

"We have been working hard to get it there because it was slipping a little bit, it was a bit loose last year. The consistency wasn't there. I have made some nice progress in all areas, especially noticeably on the greens, and it paid off this week."

Scott's putting statistics on the 2014-15 PGA Tour made for miserable reading as he finished 141st in total putting but last week on a very challenging Champion Course at PGA National, he oozed confidence.

He began the final round by sinking a 15-footer to birdie the par-four first and then buried a 10-footer at the fifth to move two strokes clear.

Several other birdie attempts during the day narrowly slid past the edge of the cup and Jack Nicklaus, who re-designed the Champion Course in 1990, paid tribute to the Australian's putting on the NBC telecast.

"His stroke is terrific," said Nicklaus, an 18-time Major champion. "He looks great over the putter and he is making his share of putts."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Tenacious Scott ends long wait for victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe