Saturday, July 21, 2012
Rest of the field is chasing Adam Scott
Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesAdam Scott will tee off at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday for the first time in his career as the 54-hole leader at a major. Scott’s previous best position entering the final round was a tie for sixth.
Adam Scott has won six of eight events when he's had at least a share of the lead after 54 holes.
Sunday will be the ninth time on the PGA TOUR that Scott has had, at least, a share of the lead after 54 holes. In the previous eight instances, he went on to win six times.
Scott has a four-stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell. Since 1990, six players at The Open Championship have a lead of at least four shots after 54 holes. Only one, Jean Van de Velde in 1999, failed to win.
In the last 16 majors, only four have been won by a 54-hole leader, but two of those wins occurred at the Open Championship: Louis Oosthuizen in 2010 and Darren Clarke last year.
If Scott does not win, it wouldn’t be the first time this season a leader lost a final-round lead. In fact, there have been five wins in 2012 by players who trailed by at least six shots entering final round.
McDowell will be playing in the final group for the second straight major and third time in his last 10 majors. When McDowell won the 2010 U.S. Open, he was three shots off the lead entering the final round. (Three of the last seven majors have been won by a player who trailed by exactly four shots entering Sunday: Webb Simpson trailed by 4 at Olympic; Charl Schwartzel by 4 at the 2011 Masters; and Martin Kaymer by 4 at the 2010 PGA.)
As for Tiger Woods, he has never won any of his 14 major championships without at least share of the lead after 54 holes.
Woods is five shots back of Scott. If Tiger can come back to win, then it would match the largest 54-hole deficit he’s overcome at a PGA TOUR event (2000 AT&T Pebble Beach, 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational).
Don’t forget that in both of Woods’ 2012 wins he had to come from behind. Woods was four shots back at the Memorial Tournament, and one shot at AT&T National.
However, weekends have not been kind to Woods of late at majors. Following his even-par 70 on Saturday, Woods now has just one sub-par round in last 11 weekend rounds in majors. In 2012 majors, Woods is 4-under on Thursdays and Fridays and 10-over on the weekend.
If Scott in fact does win, then he would be 10th straight first-time major winner – which would extend the modern era record. He would also be 16th different winner in last 16 majors.