by Mark Hayes on Pebble Beach
(Photo courtesy USGA / Chris Keane)
Adam Scott knew that a few moments of panic would spoil his US Open dream.
So after starting on the 10th and then rolling to a bottom through the difficult 17th, it was very difficult to swallow when a couple of wandering approaching shots on either side of the bend suddenly had him over and nervous.
But that is the moment when the most important champion experience – and bottle – matters the most.
"I hit two really bad wigshots from the fairway (that) cost me bogeys if you really wanted to make a birdie out of those two," Scott said about his mindset on the second tee before playing a respectable ticket. 70 who left him only five of the leaders.
"You just have to keep thinking that you are playing well and … chances are that you will make a good hit with the next shot and a good putt.
"That's where you have to rely on all the work and preparation you've done – stay calm.
"If you come out of your comfort zone at US Opens, things can go terribly wrong. I learned that in the past."
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That attitude yielded a few holes later when back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth left the ship's ends and the contents of the Queenslander, so that he was not too far back.
"I just didn't really benefit from everything I could have today," said the Masters champ 2013.
"But I certainly have not done any damage. A good first nine tomorrow morning (s) hopefully I will be a bit on par with the leaders."
"You just have to run a little bit that you're below par for … a nine-hole stretch and then a little bit in a comfort zone, and then there's no stress and you're kind of stress-free, that's nice.
"But you can never concentrate here. A mental error, a loss of concentration is incredibly expensive – that will be the main focus tomorrow."
Scott was the best performer of Aussies afternoon wave on Pebble Beach, with Aaron Baddeley the best with a 72, powered by an eagle on the sixth.
The Victorian had been on a roller coaster for most of his lap, but appeared in a southerly direction until he turned off his 220-meter approach to the par-five within 4 meters and quietly left the putt.
Sydneysider Matt Jones calmed dramatically in an equal-par nine, but the damage was done early on with two double crooks in his opening 74.
Fellow New South Welshman Brett Drewitt, on his big championship debut, suffered the opposite fate that went out in even-par 35, but endured two inner doubles to end at six past 77 and needs something special tomorrow to reach the weekend action .