Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

Herrington: Scott's 70 is Rare Hot Start at a Major

SOUTHPORT, England -- There was no denying Adam Scott was in better physical condition Thursday at the 137th British Open than a month ago at the U.S. Open, a broken bone in his right hand having had time to heal since his T-26 finish at Torrey Pines.

Still, after an opening-round 70 at Royal Birkdale to sit tied for fourth, one stroke off the lead, it was the Aussie's mental state that seemed even more sound. Despite hitting just seven of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens in regulation, Scott was the only player to get to two under par at any point during the windy, rainy day before bogeys on the 16th and 17th dropped him back to even par.

"My game I felt ball-striking wise wasn't 100 percent, my swing wasn't 100 percent," Scott said. "Today was more about figuring out a way to get it around. That's what I did, and my swing came around. It was one of those days where you have to grind. Sometimes those are better [than when] you have to go out and hit it pure and knock it close and make birdies."

Scott said he knew from the moment he woke up and looked outside at the blustery conditions that the round would be a test more of stamina than strength. He noted it wasn't ever going to be about hitting perfect shots.

That Scott put himself on the leader board Thursday also was a psychological relief compared to the way he typically starts a major championship. In Scott's previous 28 appearances at majors, only three times has he opened with a 70 or better, carding a first-round scoring average of 73.39.

"For me it always seems like I'm so far behind after Thursday it's a lot of work for me to do on Friday and the weekend," Scott admitted. "If I can keep pace with the leaders the next couple of days, I'll enjoy being in contention. It always seems like at a major I'm coming from behind and need to have the round of my life to get it done."

--Ryan Herrington