PARAMUS, N.J. -- Early in his career, Adam Scott often drew comparisons to Tiger Woods. From his powerfully elegant golf swing to his early success as a young professional, Scott was deemed an heir apparent to Woods' throne as the world's top golfer -- or, at the very least, a challenger to that title.
Hunter Martin/Getty ImagesIf it weren't for a bogey on his final hole Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club, Adam Scott would share the lead at the Barclays with Tiger Woods and Vaughn Taylor.
So maybe it's fitting that on a day when Woods stole the headlines for taking a share of the lead through one round at the Barclays, Scott was hot on his heels near the top of the leaderboard.
It doesn't take a student of the game to understand that the recently turned 30-year-old Aussie hasn't quite lived up to the hype that has surrounded him for the past decade. Not only has he never won a major championship, but Scott owns just four career top-10s in 39 major appearances.
That's not to say there hasn't been a measure of success. He includes triumphs at both the Players Championship and Tour Championship among his seven career PGA Tour victories, while adding the most recent win to that list just three months ago at the Valero Texas Open.
Based on his play at Ridgewood Country Club on Thursday, more good fortune might be imminent.
A confident Scott posted seven birdies against just two bogeys in his opening-round 5-under 66, leaving him one shot off a lead jointly held by Woods and Vaughn Taylor.
"I'm very happy with everything I did today," Scott said. "Got off to a quick start and took advantage of it. It was good. It felt like me playing golf again."
Feeling like himself translated into consistency across the board. For the opening round, Scott ranked T-14 in driving accuracy (11 of 14 fairways hit), T-3 in greens in regulation (15 of 18) and T-5 in putting average (1.533 putts per GIR).
Besides the victory in Texas, he owns just one top-10 in 15 other starts this season, but he feels he's ready to contend again. Just being in the thick of things won't keep him satisfied, though, as Scott has a loftier goal in mind.
"Winning is a good habit to be in," he said. "It's something you don't want to go too long without, because I've really grown up with the belief that I'm playing to win. And it's been a habit I've been pretty good at keeping. I wanted to get out there and win, and my focus now is to try and win before the end of the year again."
If he was searching for any inspiration, Scott need only look above him on the leaderboard, where Woods -- who obviously has struggled with his own game this season -- lurks auspiciously.
"For him to piece things together, I think, can't be too hard. He's very good," he said. "If he's got a nice, good feeling, swing, with something new and fresh, we all feel good after that."
With a good feeling in the opening round, Scott is once again drawing comparisons to the guy he's chasing on the leaderboard.
Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.