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Thursday 20 September 2018

Scott races to course record

Australian sets pace at his home Open as McIlroy trails by seven

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 15th during the Australian Open. Picture credit: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 15th during the Australian Open. Picture credit: AP Photo/Rob Griffith

MASTERS champion Adam Scott rated today's course-record 10-under 62 at the Emirates Australian Open as one of his best-ever rounds, but maintained his picture-perfect golf swing was not quite where he wanted it to be.

The world number two burst out of the blocks with six straight birdies but lost his rhythm midway through his opening round at the Royal Sydney Golf Club and had to settle for eight straight pars.

He bounced back with a superb tee shot on the par-three sixth and sunk the short putt, however, to spark another run of four straight birdies and smash the previous course record by three shots.

"I can't sit here and complain about anything, but, a bit like last week in the first round, the swing wanders on a couple of shots and it did it again today," Scott said.

"It's not quite in the slot, although I hit a lot of great shots. It's not as free-flowing as the first couple of weeks. The swing is a bit of hard work at the moment. I can still hit good shots, obviously, but hitting a few average ones as well and I got away with the bad ones with some good saves."

Scott, looking to become the second man to win Australia's Triple Crown in a single season, led little-known Canadian Ryan Yip and American John Young Kim by three shots heading into round two after the pair posted 65s.

Australian David McKenzie was fourth after a 66, with Australian trio Jason Norris, Alistair Presnell and Jason Scrivener a further stroke back.

The other star attraction in Sydney this week, Rory McIlroy, headed into the second round seven shots adrift of Scott after starting with a three-under 69.

The 24-year-old Holywood native is still seeking his first win of a troubled year but has at least shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, and he recovered well on today after bogeying his first two holes.

Starting from the 10th, McIlroy dropped shots on the par-four 10th and 11th holes, but was flawless for the remaining 16 and picked up five birdies to get himself back into contention and into a share of 16th spot after round one.

It was undeniably Scott's day, however. The 33-year-old Queenslander is renowned as a strong front-runner, but conceded matching his opening-round performance will take some doing with wet and windy conditions forecast.

DEFENDING champion Charl Schwartzel assumed his customary position high on the leaderboard of the Alfred Dunhill Championship today, despite failing to make the most of a blistering start.

He shared the early lead with fellow South Africa James Kingston, Spain's Pablo Martin, Ireland's Damien McGrane and France's Victor Rui on three under.

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