Adam Scott is doing everything he needs to do to position himself to win the 2012 British Open.
Scott put some distance between himself and the rest of the field on Saturday. He shot a steady 2-under 68 to increase his 54 hole total to 11-under. Scott is four shots ahead of Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker. McDowell shot a 3-under 67 to creep up into a tie for second place with Snedeker. After leading Scott by a stroke on Friday, Snedeker fell back into second place by shooting a 3-over 73 on Saturday.
Tiger Woods is five strokes back at 6-under after shooting an even par 70. Woods is in third place and avoided the Saturday collapse that did him in at the 2012 U.S. Open. He did suffer two bogeys on the first three holes. Woods recovered with three birdies over four holes -- starting with a 60-foot putt on the sixth and ending with 4 footer on the ninth.
Still, he missed some good chances to close the gap between him and Scott. Woods had a costly bogey on the 15th hole and settled for par eight times on the back nine. It leaves him with plenty of work to do just to catch Scott in the final round.
That's assuming Scott will let Woods catch him. Scott pulled away with three birdies around the turn -- including one off a nice 25-foot putt on the eighth -- and also came up with a huge par save on the 10th hole.when he drilled an 18 foot putt . He narrowly missed a narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have helped him tie the 54-hole British Open scoring record.
Scott has looked strong in every part of his game from his driving to his putting. Now he is on the cusp of becoming the first Australian golfer to win a British Open since Greg Norman did it in 1993.
The biggest concern for Scott is holding off Sunday rallies from the likes of McDowell or Woods. McDowell came on strong on the back nine in the third round. The 2010 U.S. Open champion knocked in three birdies on the last six holes to climb into a tie for second place. McDowell rallied at the 2012 U.S. Open and came within a shot of forcing a playoff with eventual winner Webb Simpson.
Still, If Scott can keep working magic with his driver and long putter, nothing is going to stop him from claiming the Claret Jug and finally winning his first career major.
John Coon enjoys getting in a round from time to time in the Salt Lake City area when he is not covering golf as a freelance sports reporter.