by Mark Hayes on Pebble Beach
(Photo from USGA / Michael Reaves)
Adam Scott knows that he is behind the wheel of Ferrari – it's just that he hasn't hit the gas pedal around Pebble Beach this week.
The Australian relaxed instead of the US Open leaderboard today, and added a second round 69 to his opening 70 to sit three halfway there.
And although he is satisfied that he has achieved two sub-par scores and is competing for his second major championship, Scott is keenly aware of the unused power that he has at his disposal.
After two wandering mid-round wedges he took bogeys and momentum in the first round, he opened today with two more to leave him in the backseat again.
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To deepen his frustration, Scott watched partners Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar cut an early blow through the scoreable front nine as he was forced to take a more defensive approach after coming into sight of the cut line.
"It's there," Scott complained.
"If I could make a good start, say two or three under after seven, what happens – it happened in my group for both boys – then you have the freedom to freewheel a little without being crazy.
"But I started bogey-bogey and it's like` You really have to put this on the right track, otherwise you miss the cut if it goes the wrong way & # 39 ;.
"So I stayed behind covering my bets on many shots and playing very smart and safe and maybe unable to take advantage of how I really swing."
And that swing is – for both spectators and Scott himself – in a historically good condition.
"My warm-up today has always been good, but due to the start I had to be careful and couldn't really open and attack where I wanted," said the Queenslander.
Scott regained his positive outlook with birdies on the fourth and sixth holes, then seemed ready to fully revitalize his engines after negotiating the tricky 8-10 piece in a substandard.
Near-accidents at 11 and 12 followed, but just as the revolutions increased, he inexplicably dumped a nine-iron approach to 13 in a greenside bunker and paid a hefty price when his ball stopped and he finally took a bogey, almost out of the blue.
"I started to feel good and had some chances, but that was like the wedges yesterday – it was a mistake and I probably can't afford to have three on the weekend.
"When you make bogey from the rough, you can accept it, but with slots – and that was a 9-iron – from the fairway, you would want to turn some of them into birdies, not mess with bogeys.
"But there were many good things out there and hopefully I can find that nice rhythm on the weekend and … I can finish that in an hour or so … and be precise in the mix.
"I just can't make mistakes if I go after. If I can have a hot nine hole of four or five underneath and then make no mistakes, that can be good enough to keep you in it all the way."
And Scott is well aware of not only the danger lurking around every corner in US Opens, but also that he is in an enviable position if he can spin that engine at the weekend.
"Four rounds under par? If you were offered that at the beginning of the week, you would take that – and you would be halfway to win."