Switch to long-handled putter lifts Scott's prospects
AUSTRALIA'S Adam Scott credits his return to a long-handled putter for his renaissance on the greens as he edges closer to qualifying for next month's US Open.
The former world No.1 has reverted to a broomstick putter, like he used when he tied for second at the 2011 Masters and won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone later that year.
In his second event back with it, Scott enjoyed his most complete performance of the season when he tied for 11th at last week's Players Championship.
Although Scott must use the club in a slightly different manner due to the 2016 ban on anchoring against the body, the move will hearten fans who recall him wielding a long-handled putter to win the 2013 Masters.
Scott - who ranked 32nd in the 144-player field at TPC Sawgrass for strokes gained in putting, and 18th in the tee-to-green category - said it was his best 72-hole display this year.
"It has to be - I guess the stats were a good indication of that," Scott told AAP.
"My game is close to contending, so it's a good sign."
Scott said better results on the greens were taking pressure off his perennially world-class ball-striking.
"(Last) week I putted better for four consecutive rounds than I have all year," he said.
"Confidence is building with the putter and it certainly frees up the rest of the game.
"If I can keep swinging it nicely, it will hopefully be the start of a good run of golf for me."
Scott has jumped six spots on the world rankings to No.65 following the putter switch.
At this week's Byron Nelson tournament in Texas he will continue his quest to sneak inside the world's top 60, who are invited to the US Open.
Scott, winner of the Byron Nelson in 2008, will navigate new host venue Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas alongside fellow Australian Marc Leishman for the first two rounds.
Leishman recorded two third-place finishes and another top-10 in nine visits to TPC Four Seasons, which hosted the event for 35 years, but was optimistic about the change of scenery.
"I wish we were still at (TPC Four Seasons), but we're not and I'm actually pretty excited about the move," Leishman said.
"It's a blank canvas and I'm told it plays like a British Open course, which would suit me very well as I've had good results at the Open."
Former Byron Nelson champion Steven Bowditch (2015) will play his fourth event on the US Tour this season, paired with fellow Australian Robert Allenby for the first two days.
Rounding out the 13-strong Australian contingent at Trinity Forest are Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, 2014 Masters low amateur Oliver Goss, Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling, Cameron Percy and John Senden.
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth is a heavy favourite to win the Byron Nelson, given he and Australian coach Cameron McCormick use Trinity Forest as their Dallas training base.