Scott's game plan to steal the Open trophy

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Birthday boy Adam Scott plans on keeping his foot flat to the floor in a bold bid to run down Cameron Smith, banish his decade-old British Open demons and finally claim golf's coveted Claret Jug.

Scott continued his stirring fightback after a disastrous opening on Thursday to reignite his title quest with a blazing seven-under-par 65 - his best-ever round in 22 Open appearances.

But despite soaring from 55th into a tie for eighth at seven under, Scott still finds himself playing catch-up after his great mate Smith set the hottest halfway pace in the 30 editions of golf's oldest championship staged at St Andrews.

With a 13-under, 36-hole total of 131 following brilliant rounds of 67-64, Smith is six shots clear of Scott (72-65) and seven ahead of fellow Australian pursuers Min Woo Lee (69-69) and Lucas Herbert (70-68) in a share of 12th place.

Turning 42 on Saturday, Scott didn't skip a beat when asked what he wished for as a third-round present.

"Another 65 would be acceptable," said the former world No.1 - a decade after suffering the torment of blowing a four-shot lead with four holes to play at Royal Lytham and St Annes to gift Ernie Els the trophy.

"You don't need much extra motivation at an Open championship but anytime I think about letting one slip through my hands, it hurts," Scott said.

"And it would be exciting if I shot a really great round tomorrow to tee off with a legitimate feeling that I'm in contention.

"Not only for the fact that I haven't really been in that position for a major for a little while, but also for the fact that I've had one hand on this jug, I feel like, and I'd like to put two on."

After slumping to four over through six holes in his the round, Scott played his next 30 in a bogey-free 11 under.

"It's what I needed," Scott said.

"As good as the 65 was today, getting back to even was huge yesterday.

"Rounds two and three, I had to get into double-digits under par to have a chance."

Lee is also planning an all-out attack after five birdies and an eagle two on the par-four 12th - where he almost holed his drive for an albatross -catapulted the 23-year-old into contention.

"The way I'm hitting it and putting it, hopefully I just shoot low scores," Lee said.

"That's the mindset."

Herbert also charged up the leaderboard on Friday with five birdies and a lone bogey on the par-three 11th.

Among the other Australians, Brad Kennedy's even-par 72 left the 48-year-old Japanese-based journeyman in a share of 25th at four under.

Anthony Quayle, on debut, and Jason Scrivener also made the cut.

Quayle, the first Australian out in the third round at 7.20pm AEST, battled back from a day-one 74 to shoot 68 and climb to two under.

Scrivener is one under after a 71.

But the golfing gods haven't been kind to Marc Leishman.

After losing out to Zach Johnson in a three-man playoff at St Andrews seven years ago, Leishman's hopes of penning a fairytale redemption story have ended in despair.

Playing alongside Scott for the first two rounds, Leishman missed the cut at six over following a 74 to go with his opening 76.

Matt Griffin, Dimi Papadatos and Jed Morgan also missed the cut.


131 (67-64): Cameron Smith - leader

137 (72-65): Adam Scott - T8th

138 (69-69): Min Woo Lee - T12th

138 (70-68): Lucas Herbert - T12th

140 (68-72): Brad Kennedy - T25th

143 (74-69): Anthony Quayle - T55th

143 (72-71): Jason Scrivener - T55th


146 (74-72): Matthew Griffin - T98th - missed cut

150 (76-74): Marc Leishman - T134th - missed cut

151 (77-74): Dimi Papadatos - T141st - missed cut

155 (79-76): Jed Morgan - T152nd - missed cut

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