ST. LOUIS – Adam Scott was back in contention for the first time in what seemed like an eternity when the former Masters champion began the final round of the British Open last month.
His mind-set? Take it low.
"And I took the wrong mind-set," Scott admitted Saturday after shooting a second consecutive 5-under 65 — the top score of the third round — that left him two shots back of Brooks Koepka heading into the final round of the PGA Championship.
He wound up shooting 73 at Carnoustie and was never in contention on the back nine.
"I expected to shoot too low in pretty tough conditions and shot myself in the foot a little bit," Scott said, "but it felt good to be back feeling like I was in contention at a major."
Scott was one of the world's top players a couple of years ago, his green jacket and No. 1 ranking still fresh in peoples' minds. He'd won the Barclays Classic and three more times after his triumph at Augusta.
Maybe it was the ban on that long putter, or maybe it was some problems with his swing that sent him churning through coaches. Whatever the reason, everything fell apart last year, when Scott managed only four top-10s.
Scott had continued to struggle this year. His only top-10 has been a tie for ninth at the Byron Nelson.
"Now then a couple of years have slipped by and I haven't contended," Scott said. "Another five and you're basically wheeling me out to pasture, at that point."
Not quite. But he has fallen far enough on the FedEx Cup points list that determines whether he gets to keep his PGA Tour playing privileges that he entered next week's Wyndham Championship in part to give himself another opportunity to pile them up against a relatively soft field.
By contrast, the field at Bellerive this week is one of the best all season, and somehow Scott has found some of his old magic. It might be that he's back to using a modified version of his long putter, or perhaps it's a peace of mind that came with rehiring his brother-in-law, Brad Malone, as his swing coach after a couple of years apart.
"It's been fantastic," Scott said. "It's been very not technical, the stuff we've been working on. More feelings and philosophy and how I play my best golf."