MASTERS champion Adam Scott rated Thursday’s course-record 10-under 62 at the Emirates Australian Open as one of his best-ever rounds - but maintained his picture-perfect golf swing was not quite where he wanted it to be.
The world number two burst out of the blocks with six straight birdies but lost his rhythm midway through his opening round at the Royal Sydney Golf Club and had to settle for eight straight pars.
He bounced back with a superb tee shot on the par-three sixth and sunk the short putt, however, to spark another run of four straight birdies and smash the previous course record by three shots.
“I can’t sit here and complain about anything, but, a bit like last week in the first round, the swing wanders on a couple of shots and it did it again today,” Scott said.
“It’s not quite in the slot, although I hit a lot of great shots today.
“It’s a bit - I don’t know the right way to say it - it’s not as free-flowing as the first couple of weeks (at the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Masters).
“The swing is a bit of hard work for me at the moment. I can still hit good shots, obviously, but hitting a few average ones as well and I got away with the bad ones with some good saves.
“I felt like there’s been a good round in me for four weeks, and finally I threw it out there today.”
Scott, looking to become the second man to win Australia’s Triple Crown in a single season, led little-known Canadian Ryan Yip and American John Young Kim by three shots heading into round two after the pair posted 65s.
Australian David McKenzie was fourth after a 66, with Australian trio Jason Norris, Alistair Presnell and Jason Scrivener a further stroke back.
The other star attraction in Sydney this week, Rory McIlroy, headed into the second round seven shots adrift of Scott after starting with a three-under 69.
The 24-year-old Northern Irishman is still seeking his first win of a troubled year but has at least shown signs of improvement in recent weeks - and he recovered well on Thursday after bogeying his first two holes.
Starting from the 10th, McIlroy dropped shots on the par-four 10th and 11th holes, but was flawless for the remaining 16 and picked up five birdies to get himself back into contention and into a share of 16th spot after round one.
It was undeniably Scott’s day, however.
The 33-year-old Queenslander is renowned as a strong front-runner, but conceded matching his opening-round performance will take some doing with wet and windy conditions forecast for Friday.
“It’s a mindset. You want to be a good front-runner, you want to be out there and, when you’re playing well, you want to keep your foot on the gas,” he said.
“I’ve had a few times in my career where I ran away and won by several shots. It’s a good attribute to have - it’s hard to do but it’s a good attribute if you can do it.
“Tomorrow’s a whole different ball-game. Backing up a low round is something that’s hard to do and you don’t often see guys go back-to-back low like that.
“So I’m going to have to come out tomorrow and try and get control of my game and mind again and just deal with the conditions as best I can.”