GOLD COAST, Australia – Adam Scott shot an even-par 71 on Saturday at wind-swept Royal Pines to open a three-stroke lead in the Australian PGA Championship.
The tournament is the first of four straight in Australia for Scott, playing at home for the first time since winning the Masters. He had a 10-under 203 total.
"I think it was a grind for everyone," Scott said. "I didn't see too many good scores out there."
American Rickie Fowler and Australian David McKenzie were tied for second. Fowler had a 71, and will play alongside Scott in the final twosome Sunday. McKenzie shot 72.
Scott bogeyed the par-4 seventh and eighth holes before making birdie on the par-5 12th and 15th holes.
"I just tried to play a little better on the back nine, and took advantage of the par 5s," he said. "Later in the day when the wind picks up, it's a bit of a luck of the draw coming into the greens low and at slow speed."
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He said he thought he was fortunate to increase his lead based on the tough conditions.
"I've improved my spot just slightly," Scott said. "I would have taken that score at this stage of the tournament."
Fowler struggled to find the fairways, limiting his birdie chances.
"Tomorrow, I'd like to play on the fairways a little bit more," he said. "I haven't been able to get the balls as close as I'd like.
"If the breeze stays up, it will be tough. The fairways aren't too generous. But I'm looking forward to play with Adam, he's a great guy and fun to play with."
Australian Marc Leishman shot 68 and was in a group tied for sixth, five strokes behind.