Adam Scott likely figured another record-tying round -- he shot a course-record 64 on Thursday to take a one-shot -- wasn't needed to stay in contention.
But when Scott stepped on the tee Friday afternoon, he found himself looking up at Brandt Snedeker on the leaderboard, after Snedeker managed to tie the Aussie's 64 with one of his own to take a four-shot lead over the rest of the field at 10-under.
Knowing that he needed to make something happen to stay in contention, Scott got off on the wrong foot early, bogeying the par-4 third to fall five off the pace. Holding an overnight lead in a major championship for the first time in his career, many wondered how Scott would handle the immense pressure of playing as a front-runner.
Through the first six holes it was touch-and-go, but Scott started to find his game on the seventh, when his approach shot on the par-5 took a lucky bounce off an embankment to within 20 feet of the hole. His good fortune seemed to spur him on, as he rolled in back-to-back birdie putts on the 10th and 11th to climb within two of Snedeker.
Another birdie on the par-4 18th ensured Scott would be playing in the final group of a major on the weekend for the first time in his career. The way he's been playing this week -- rolling in key putts and staying out of trouble -- it seems fitting that Scott's hard work is finally paying off with a prime-time pairing on one of golf's biggest stages.
"I feel like this is the path I've been going down and it just happens to have happened here that I've put myself in good position after two days at a major," Scott said after his round.
A big reason he's had so much success this week? Try a red-hot putter that has him averaging 1.54 putts per hole through two rounds. While Scott's had the long putter in the bag for some time, he said the flatstick has had a positive effect on his entire game.
"Certainly making the adjustment to putt with a long putter took a little bit of time, but it was effective once I brought it out on tour," Scott said. "I putt much more consistent with it, which has a really positive effect on the rest of my game. Takes a little pressure off."
He'll certainly need his putter more than ever on Saturday. Facing pressure the likes of which he's never seen, we're about to see if Adam Scott's game is ready to win a major. Through two rounds that appears to be the case. Now it's time to see if he can handle the most pressure-packed 36 holes of his career.
• Jeff Passan: Ichiro thinks of friend Buck O'Neil as he ponders future with Mariners
• Video: Is the Sprint Cut Chase field already set?
• Memorable moment: Mary Lou Retton became America's darling and changed women's sports forever