Scott makes slow start

Defending champion Adam Scott made a slow start to his Australian Masters defense after carding a one-over-par 73 on Thursday.

The world number two struggled in the blistering conditions at the Metropolitan Golf Club and is six strokes behind a quartet of players who carded 67s on the day.

They are Steven Bowditch, Michael Wright, Stephen Allan and Todd Sinnott, who are all from Australia.

For Bowditch, the round could have been even better had he not pissed a tap-in at the final hole, a mistake that cost him the outright lead.

“I don’t know what I did on 18,” Bowditch told reporters after his round.

“It was tough off and on… It got really windy early, then slowed down, windy (again), changed direction.
“It can get tough out there.”

One stroke behind the leaders are two more Aussies, Rhein Gibson and Aaron Price, who both shot 68s.

For Scott, his bid for an unprecedented third successive title could have been much worse after he turned three-over, before an eagle on the par-five sixth – his back nine – saw him claw back some of the deficit.

“If the conditions are the same (tomorrow), just everyone’s out there just hanging on doing the best they can,” last year’s US Masters champion told reporters by the scoring hut.

“There’s no way to attack in this wind.”

Former US Open Geoff Ogilvy was among a group of players who carded three-under 69s.