World No.6 Adam Scott tried to apply some heat to US Open champion Dustin Johnson but a late surge left the American in complete control with a round remaining at the US PGA Tour’s penultimate playoff event in Indiana.
Scott opened the third round at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on Saturday eight shots behind co-leaders Johnson and Roberto Castro and while his five-under-67 was the joint best of the day, he sits at 11-under overall, still seven shots off the pace.
World No.2 Johnson positioned himself for a third win of the year, a season scoring average title and a likely Player of the Year title after he shot 68 to move to 18-under for the tournament.
World No.1 Jason Day is well out of contention after a 71 left him at five-under in a tie for 21st.
Johnson is three shots clear of Englishman Paul Casey (68) with JB Holmes (68) sitting third at 14-under.
With more heavy rain delaying tee times on Saturday the course was ripe for the taking in soft conditions but Scott could only muster six straight pars to start his round.
Once again putting was his bugbear.
“I’m playing well enough to win, but I need to putt better for four days straight. That’s been the story of my year,” Scott said.
“Since the spring, I just haven’t putted consistently well throughout a tournament. Hopefully a good day tomorrow I could sneak in the back door there.”
Just as it appeared he would fade into insignificance the Queenslander rattled off three straight birdies at the turn.
Another run of seven pars followed before two crucial birdies to finish pushed him up the boards.
As Scott surged he was briefly within three shots of the lead before Johnson birdied 14, 15, 16 and 18 to stamp his authority.
Regardless of the result, both Day and Scott are through to the 30-man Tour Championship where someone will earn the season’s FedEx Cup and US$10 million bonus.
Importantly both are currently projected to remain in the top five on points.
Those players in the top five headed to Atlanta are guaranteed the FedEx Cup if they win the Tour Championship.
“I would like to stay in the top five and good play takes care of that and that’s all I have to think about,” Scott said.
“Obviously we all know what happens if you do stay in the top 5 and you win East Lake, nothing can stop you from winning the FedExCup.”
Aaron Baddeley (even) and Marc Leishman (four-over) are well back of the top three finish they both need to survive in the playoffs.