AUGUSTA, GA. -- Adam Scott's title defense was looking very promising when he opened with a 69 that left him one stroke off the lead after the first round of the Masters.
But Scott simply couldn't build on that strong start. He ended up well off the pace at 1 over after shooting 72 on Sunday.
The third round was the killer as Scott went out in 40 on the way to a disheartening 76. That round of 4 over tied for his highest score since he shot 78 in the second round of the 2007 Masters.
"I think as far as my game goes I was really happy with where I put myself on Friday night," he said. "And without over analyzing it it's always a bit here or there, but a poor nine holes on Saturday stopped all my momentum and had me on the back foot and I just couldn't go anywhere from there.
"And that's what it's like at majors. You're nine good holes from winning it and nine bad holes from being out of it. Without being too critical I think I just played an average nine holes and that was going to make it hard for me."
Scott beat Angel Cabrera on the first extra hole last year to become the first Australian to win the Masters. He had played the three previous Masters in 25 under, so his struggles this week were surprising.
Scott only his 59 percent of the fairways and 67 percent of the greens in regulation. He used 122 putts and three-putted five times.
Staying patient was Scott's goal on Sunday -- and trying to make a run on the back nine.
"Once I made the turn, like I said, I felt like if it's possible to get in at 4, you never know," Scott said. "And then also you never know what can happen.
"Two eagles on the back nine is possible, but I just didn't create enough opportunities. ... It's tough on a Sunday out here."
Even though he didn't play as well as he would have liked, Scott says the week was one he'll never forget.
"The experiences I've had in playing a tournament as the defending champion and as a champion, and all the ovations that you receive around here is amazing memories for me," Scott said.