Masters winners Scott, Schwartzel back in major title hunt

St. Louis (AFP) –


Australia's Adam Scott and South African Charl Schwartzel, Masters champions who haven't often contended for major titles in recent years, climbed into the hunt Friday at the 100th PGA Championship.

Schwartzel, who took the green jacket in 2011, matched the all-time tournament record by firing a seven-under par 63 to stand on 133, three back of American leader Gary Woodland at Bellerive Country Club.

"It's a good position to be in and there's a lot of holes to be played," Schwartzel said.

"You're going to have to keep firing. Most majors the weekends get difficult, but I think this course you're going to have to keep shooting birdies."

"I'm looking forward to playing on the weekend and competing in a major. It doesn't get better than that."

Scott, who won at Augusta National in 2013, was on 135 after a second-round 65.

"It's definitely moving in the right direction and 65 at a major is always a good score," Scott said. "I kind of said last night I felt like there was a 65 in the way I was playing and just have to do it.

"I made a couple of extra putts for par to keep the momentum going, and that's probably the difference between most of my golf generally over the last 12 months.

"I feel like I've got a 63 in me tomorrow. I probably need it."

Schwartzel's only top-five finish since his Masters triumph came last year when he finished third at Augusta National behind the head-to-head duel of winner Sergio Garcia and Britain's Justin Rose.

Schwartzel, 33, has missed the cut at all three prior majors this year and eight of his past 20 major starts.

Asked how it would feel to capture another major trophy, 52nd-ranked Schwartzel replied, "It's about time."

"There have been ups and downs and I just feel like I'm starting to play a better golf game.

"I'm looking forward to playing on the weekend and competing in a major. It doesn't get better than that."

Scott's only win since 2013 came at the 2016 WGC event at Doral. The Aussie's only top-10 showing in the past 12 majors was ninth last year at Augusta. His best PGA finish was a share of third in 2006.

"I don't really feel from memory that I was ever really in contention on a Sunday at the PGA, although I've had some good results," Scott said.

"I'd like it to be kind to me this weekend."

World number 76 Scott, 38, likes his chances if he can keep his shotmaking going.

"I feel like I've been doing all the right stuff, and I just haven't been doing it on the golf course. There's no excuse. It's one or two extra putts from 10 feet for par or birdie," Scott said.

"It just changes the momentum of your round so much when that one goes in or not. It just changes the way you work the next few holes, I feel all the time.

"Whether it's a poor shot through technique or lack of discipline or a mental block, I've been doing it a lot, and today I didn't. I just tried to hang in there as long as I could. I bogeyed the last, but sometimes when you have bad shots, you're going to make bogey."