By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Adam Scott does not have good memories of the last U.S. Open played at Oakmont but he feels the set-up for this week’s edition should especially suit him if he can drive the ball as well as he usually does.
The Australian world number eight leads the PGA Tour’s charts from tee to green this season and says he is “excited” coming into the year’s second major championship, even though the par-70 layout is arguably the most challenging in the game.
“I really feel that if I can execute and play my style of golf this U.S. Open, I haven’t seen a better set-up for me personally than this,” Scott told reporters after playing his final practice round at Oakmont Country Club on Wednesday.
“If I can drive the ball how I usually do, I think I’m at a little bit of an advantage starting out playing from down the fairway here this week, so I’m excited about this week.”
Treacherous Oakmont, which last hosted a U.S. Open in 2007, is a hilly course with very few flat lies and renowned for its slick, undulating greens which have been described by the players as “scary fast”.
In Scott’s eyes, the greens could be something of a leveler for the players this week because of the difficulty of long putts with multiple breaks.
“From 10 feet and in, for guys who putt well, you’ll still make putts, but once you start getting out beyond that 10-foot range, there’s so much movement in the greens,” said the 35-year-old Australian.
“From 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 feet – it’s very, very hard to putt it up there close like we’re somewhat used to doing on normal Tour greens. It’s probably going to challenge everybody this week. I do feel it’s a bit of a leveler, these greens.”
For many years, Scott generally struggled at the U.S. Open and he missed the cut six times in his first 10 appearances in the major championship generally considered to be the most exacting.
However, he eventually found a way to get into contention and has posted top-10 finishes in his last two U.S. Open starts.
“I just finally played a little bit better at a U.S. Open,” Scott smiled. “There’s no doubt I’d not brought my best form (before). At least I feel like I can get myself somewhat in the hunt at the U.S. Open after the last couple performances.”
Nine years ago, Scott missed the cut in the last U.S. Open hosted by Oakmont but he knows he is now a very different player.
“I played poorly (in 2007), so I definitely would like to turn that around this week and have a much more memorable experience at Oakmont,” said Scott, who has triumphed twice on the PGA Tour this season.
“I’m familiar with the golf course and I’ve got my plan in place, so I’m looking forward to getting this U.S. Open under way.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue)