HOYLAKE, England -- If Adam Scott goes on to finally win the Claret Jug this weekend, he'll likely point to the way he finished Friday's second round as pivotal in that quest.
The world No. 1, who has finished second and third, respectively, at the last two The Open Championships, started the 143rd renewal with a solid 68. But he needed birdies on the 17th and 18th holes Friday to get in the house with a 73 that left him 3 under through 36 holes.
"There were some ups and downs," Scott acknowledged. "But it was really, really important to finish with a couple of birdies and put me in good shape for the weekend, I think."
Scott, a tennis buff, fell victim to what some might call unforced errors on Friday. He had four bogeys, two consecutively on each nine, and was 3 over before that finishing spurt.
"Could have been better today," Scott said. "I played really well but didn't take advantage of my good shots today and compounded that with some errors from the middle of the fairway. ...
"It's one thing if you're in trouble to make a bogey. But if you're in the middle of the fairway you don't want to make a bogey -- and I had a couple of them on the back nine. I hit the skids and had to scramble coming in."
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The winds, which were gusty and came from a slightly different direction than in the first round, made the morning more challenging. Scott recalled hitting a 6-iron just 140 yards on the fourth hole where at the same time some drivers were going "miles" and 4-irons traveling 300.
Unsettled weather for the weekend, particularly on Saturday where there is a 100 percent chance of rain that could be heavy at times, might play into Scott's hands, though.
"Seems like we're going to see it all over the weekend, maybe," Scott said. "Tomorrow doesn't look great and I think that's all right.
"The last 36 holes of a major is going to be a grind, and if it's tough conditions, I'm certainly up for that challenge. I feel I'm swinging the club really well. So the tougher it gets I think more of that favors me if I can keep swinging well."
Scott said the blustrery winds even affect putting. Uphill putts into the wind are extemely slow while downhill and downwind strikes are just the opposite.
"It's all about adjusting," Scott said. "... It's just a grind. Everything is hard out there. Every shot is so crucial and it can all get away from you, even putts. ...
"And if you misjudge that, you can three-putt from nowhere if you're not careful."