Scott victorious in playoff opener
JERSEY CITY, N.J.—Of all the players who missed putts on the 18th hole at Liberty National, Adam Scott might have been the only one who felt like it didn’t matter.
His 15-foot putt grazed the right edge of the cup, and Scott walked away with a five-under 66 that he considered little more than a good final round.
“I can’t believe it, to be honest,” Scott admitted after opening the FedEx Cup playoffs with a one-shot win yesterday.
“I just played a good round today, and I came in and really didn’t think it had a chance,” he remarked.
“But obviously, things went my way a lot out there.
“I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift,” he added. “But I’ll take it.”
Even if Scott had made his birdie putt on the 18th, he figured he would be lucky to get into a playoff.
What followed was a parade of missed putts, ugly shots, and Tiger Woods dropping to his knees just before he started dropping birdies.
“It was a good charge but obviously I got a lot of luck, the guys struggled coming in,” Scott noted.
“I’ve been in their position, too,” he added. “It’s hard getting it done and I was playing from a position of nothing to lose today.”
Justin Rose had a 25-foot birdie putt to take the outright lead, gunned it five feet by the hole, and then missed the par putt to fall one shot behind.
Kevin Chappell, whose birdie on the 10th hole gave him a two-shot lead, played the next seven holes in seven-over par—starting with a three-putt from eight feet for double-bogey.
Woods had been battling lower back issues all week, which he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel room.
In a snapshot of the collapses that unfolded over the final two hours, Woods said he had a back spasm on the par-five 13th hole.
And after his second shot with a fairway metal was so far left that it went into a water hazard on the other side of the 15th fairway, he dropped to all fours in pain and took his time getting back on his feet.
Woods at least made it interesting—as he often does. He birdied the 16th. He birdied the 17th to get within one shot.
He then had a 25-foot putt off the back of the 18th green to catch Scott, and it looked good all the way until stopping one turn short.
Woods turned away in disbelief—the second time he has come up one shot short at Liberty National.
Rose, unlike Scott, knew exactly what his putt meant and wanted to be sure he gave it a good run.
“I got too aggressive,” admitted Rose, who closed with a 68 yesterday.
“I thought it was a putt to win the tournament,” he added.
“It’s tough to take.”
Graham DeLaet of Canada, who closed with a 65, also tied for second.
That enabled him to move up to No. 9 in the Presidents Cup standings and, with one week before qualifying ends, is in good shape to make the International team.
Only the top 100 players in the FedEx Cup advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.
Geoff Ogilvy could have joined them except for missing a two-and-a-half foot par putt on the final hole that ultimately knocked him out of the top 100.