GOLF: Adam Scott says he has the ball striking - and with it the confidence - to make a huge play for a second Masters title.
The 36-year-old Queenslander is back at Augusta National, the scene of his greatest triumph in 2013, and with him is what he believes is his best form so far this year.
The world No.9 has a top-10 placing and four top-25 finishes in five US PGA Tour tournaments in 2017.
But what has been holding him back from far better results has been his driving. He is currently ranked 123rd for accuracy.
While he and fellow Aussies Rod Pampling and Curtis Luck weren't able to get out for a practice round yesterday due to a tornado warning, Scott was pleased with his swing on Sunday.
"I struck the ball the best I have this year, for sure. It was significantly better and more what I expect out of myself," he said.
"I really haven't hit the ball very well this year, so it was nice to put it right into the place I want it."
Scott, who has caddie Steve Williams back by his side, is aiming for a second major championship and 14th US PGA Tour career title.
"The past two days (the game) has really fallen into place and, hopefully, it's not just one day," Scott said.
"I've really worked hard, mentally and physically, on my game to try and get that peak performance going.
"I'm pleased with my preparation and hopefully I can be really firing when the opening round comes."
Scott is on the 10th line of betting for the Masters, with world No.1 Dustin Johnson, who has claimed three titles already this year, the heavy favourite from Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
"You have to have a lot of patience because you do get a little edgy when it comes time for the Masters and you haven't really performed how you wanted to. But that doesn't mean you're not going to (win)," Scott said.
"'DJ' looks phenomenal but there are so many guys capable of playing at a high level and I certainly feel I can go into (the Masters) with a lot of confidence as well."
Fellow Queenslander Jason Day and Victorian Marc Leishman did manage to get out on the greens yesterday before severe storms sent players and patrons scurrying for shelter.
The lightning siren roared just before midday and the course was closed for nearly two hours as darks clouds rolled in.
Day looked in fine fettle with a series of sizzling drives playing the back nine and said he felt "happy to be here" after battling his own will to play following his mother Dening's cancer diagnosis.
"I'm in a much better place now. I feel happy to be on the golf course. I am enjoying myself a lot more than I was in the last month," Day said
Leishman said predicted wet weather could help soften the course, which had been baked hard by officials wary of the inclement conditions.
"But I feel as though I have played here enough in different conditions that I should be fine," he said.
Although the sun is expected to come out on Tuesday (local time), more wild weather is predicted for Wednesday, the last chance for players to practice.
Showers and winds up to 50kmh are expected for the opening round on Thursday but then things should fine up before a sunny Sunday to finish.
with Russell Gould
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