Adam Scott wins Barclays without really knowing it
Aussie has decent final round in play-offs opener but is surprised to end up with trophy
Associated Press in Jersey City
Of all the players who missed putts on the 18th hole at Liberty National, Adam Scott might have been the only one who felt like it didn't matter.
His 15-foot putt grazed the right edge of the cup, and Scott walked away with a five-under 66 that he considered little more than a good final round.
More than an hour later, it turned out to be a winner at The Barclays.
"I can't believe it, to be honest," Scott said after opening the FedEx Cup play-offs with a one-shot win. "I just played a good round today and I came in and really didn't think it had a chance. But obviously, things went my way a lot out there. I feel like I've been given a bit of a gift." he said. "But I'll take it."
Even if Scott had made his birdie putt on the 18th, he figured he would be lucky to get into a play-off.
What followed was a parade of missed putts, ugly shots and Tiger Woods dropping to his knees just before he started dropping birdies.
"It was a good charge, but obviously I got a lot of luck, the guys struggled coming in," Scott said. "I've been in their position, too. It's hard getting it done and I was playing from a position of nothing to lose today."
Justin Rose had a 25-foot birdie putt to take the outright lead, gunned it five feet by the hole, and missed the par putt to fall one shot behind. Kevin Chappell, whose birdie on the 10th hole gave him a two-shot lead, played the next seven holes in seven over par, starting with a three-putt from eight feet for double bogey.
Woods had been battling lower back issues all week, which he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel room. He birdied the 16th. He birdied the 17th to get within one shot. He had a 25-foot putt off the back of the 18th green to catch Scott, and it looked good all the way until stopping one turn short. Woods turned away in disbelief, the second time he has come up one shot short at Liberty National.
Rose, unlike Scott, knew exactly what his putt meant and wanted to be sure he gave it a good run.
"I got too aggressive," said Rose, who closed with a 68. "I thought it was a putt to win the tournament. It's tough to take."
Scott isn't sure where he won the tournament. He played the final 24 holes without a bogey. He showed great patience on the 299-yard 16th hole by hitting iron off the tee, even though he needed to make up ground in a hurry. Scott thought it was too risky to hit an easy driver and pointless to hit three-wood some 20 yards short of the green, leaving an awkward chip. He hit six-iron and a nice wedge to 15 feet and still got his birdie. It proved to be the winning birdie.
Or maybe he won the tournament on Saturday, when he had fallen 10 shots behind with sloppy play, only to finish with three birdies over his last six holes.
"I felt my tournament was really over, and I was just looking for a good finish and trying not to slip down these FedEx Cup points," Scott said. "But there you go. You're never out of it and you never know what can happen. It's proof - and I've been on the other side of it - where it's never over. So you've just got to stick in there, and those three late birdies yesterday saved my week."