by Mark Hayes on Pebble Beach
(thanks to USGA)
You can't write about Adam Scott's round – or his US Open so far – without sounding a little apologetic.
Which, for every top athlete, has to approach the most terrible thing to read back after a match.
But that's where it is for the Queenslander who, after a third consecutive round of unrequited love for and on Pebble Beach, sits uncomfortably at the outermost edges of the fight.
And that despite clear playing golf worthy to be at the end of the tournament.
Scott starts his final round on three substandard, eight shots behind Gary Woodland.
But the 38-year-old, although clearly frustrated, remains so satisfied with his game that he voluntarily offered a historical comparison that he still had in mind for the final round of tomorrow.
"(Only) you can let that happen. And when it's your time to have that, you know, it's like Johnny Miller shot that 63 to win," Scott said in reference to the 1973 US Open in Oakmont .
"I don't think he woke up because he believed he would just turn around in 63, but these things can just happen.
"I mean, everyone is playing at such a high level, if you have the right break for one day, you see guys keep breaking important records all the time – Burning Grace shot the other year 62, that never happened, Brooks on the PGA (last month) for a few days.
"I have the feeling that it is possible here to get it around eight (below). Things have to go away, obvioiusly, but … frankly, I don't even know that I have to shoot eight to win tomorrow. A total of eight under can win this. You never know. "
Scott had a series of bad breaks on the back nine, with a few sausage case scenarios and several putts that flew out.
"Yes. It's just a cruel game, sometimes because today was by far the most under control on the golf swing and the ball," he said.
"I can accept (that) 11 was a bad bogey that was soft, and then, you know, because of the soft bogeys the first few days, you leave yourself in a position where I feel like I should go on at 14 and make a birdie (though) your chance to make bogey is very small (if you give up).
"But I had to hurry a little and I am a meter away from being semi-rough and just shredding it and looking at it and making five in the worst case
"You have to run into it. I'm too far back. It wasn't really my day. It wasn't my day with the putter either. I hit a few good putts. Much rolled by the edge. A few lipped out. Yes. It was a bit frustrating.
"But the good news is that I hurled it very well. And if I can swing it that way tomorrow and get a little moving, then I feel like there's a good score for me, I really do. something in the mid-60s. "
"We'll see if I can run the tables. You never know. I'm in that nice position where I'm not even in discussion. So I'm going to really play the first nine with zero kisses, see what happens."
While the vast majority of contenders built up their scores on holes 1-7 during the week – leader Woodland and Brooks Koepka are eight at the bottom of that trajectory, for example – Scott is a poor person.
And he is painfully aware that it must change quickly.
"Yes, I have not had a great, great start at all.
"It has to happen. Tomorrow you can let go of the momentum, three under, but I just – I just didn't use my good game.
"In general, there is very decent stuff everywhere. I just have to get free tomorrow, as someone wants. Someone will go out for a day tomorrow and win this thing."