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September 19 2013

6:47 PM

Scott turns day around on back nine

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

ATLANTA -- Out of frustration came opportunity for Adam Scott, and he ran with it.

After missing a 6-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole Thursday at East Lake, Scott hit "two good shots" on the par-4 10th and rolled in a 12-footer for birdie and calmed down.

"I just went and played and played the way I felt I could," he said. "I feel like my games in good shape, and it was nice to kind of open up a little bit on the back nine and take advantage of some good shots.

The Aussie birdied six of his first seven holes on the back nine and shot a 5-under 65, leaving him one shot off the lead after Henrik Stenson after the first round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

"If a birdie can't calm you down, you're going to have to look for another thing to do for a living," Scott said. "It was really just that."

Playing well in the state of Georgia is becoming second nature to Scott. Earlier this year, he won his first major a couple of hours southeast of here when he became the first Australian to win the Masters.

Now he's in position to add to it.

With already one Playoffs victory just last month at The Barclays, Scott arrived at East Lake third in the FedExCup standings. Should he win here, he would also take home the FedExCup and a $10 million bonus.

A victory might also net him Player of the Year honors.

"As I've been kind of on the periphery of the discussion of that for the last few weeks, it's been a motivating factor for sure," he said. "With such deep talent, if that was the vote from the other guys out here, I think that's a real achievement in your career.

"It's an opportunity to might not come along too often. I'm going to be working hard to try and make my case for it for sure."

He made a strong one Thursday.

After missing the green with a wedge on three separate occasions on the front nine, Scott hit a nice approach on the 459-yard 10th.

On the par-3 11th, he again set himself up for birdie by hitting his tee shot to 10 feet.

One hole later, he hit what he called his best shot of the day, a wedge to inside 2 feet on the 383-yard par 4.

"That was a nice shot because it was in between yardage," Scott said. "I liked that one because my wedge play is the one thing I still feel I have most room for improvement."

There was little Scott could have improved on in the opening round.

"I got a lot of confidence out of playing nine holes like that," he continued. "I've just got to keep my focus. That's really all I can think it was. Trust that all the work I've done is just going to hold up for a few days."

If it does, he'll come away with two trophies.

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