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Scott comes back to the field at Bay Hill

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm •  Published: March 22, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Adam Scott didn't have to look as far down the leaderboard to find players who suddenly are a real threat to win at Bay Hill.

He described them as players who are "hungry to win," and Scott served them up an appetizer Saturday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Staked to a seven-shot lead at the start of the third round, the Masters champion hit enough loose shots and missed just enough par putts to lose more than half his lead and turn his quest to be No. 1 in the world into a bigger battle that he would have preferred.

Scott made a 7-foot par putt on the final hole for a 1-under 71, giving him a three-shot lead over Keegan Bradley going into Sunday.

"I think I've got to go out and try to win the golf tournament (Sunday)," Scott said. "I'm not trying to win the No. 1 ranking. I've got a bunch of guys breathing down my neck who all have had nice rounds today and are feeling pretty good about the way they're playing going into tomorrow. So I'm going to have to play a pretty sharp round of golf and not open the door at all."

Scott was at 15-under 201.

Bradley birdied his last three holes, taking on the flag at the 18th with a 9-iron from 167 yards that narrowly cleared the rocks framing the lake and settled 4 feet from the flag. That was the final touch on an eight-birdie round of 66 that put him in the final group.

"I just kind of like that underdog role," Bradley said. "I like knowing that I've got to go out there and play well. It really gets me excited. And playing in the final group with one of the best players in the world at Arnold Palmer's tournament is what we all dream to do. Tomorrow is going to be a really fun day."

Any other year at Bay Hill, he might have been referring to Tiger Woods.

Woods, the two-time defending champion at Bay Hill and No. 1 in the world, withdrew before the tournament because of recurring back pain. Scott has a chance to replace him at No. 1 in the world with a victory, though he wouldn't take over at the top until the week before the Masters.

But there's too much golf, and now too many players, for Scott to think that far ahead.

Matt Every (66) and Jason Kokrak (67) were four shots behind, both with a chance to win on the PGA Tour for the first time. Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari of Italy each had a 69 and were another shot behind. Hadley, who won the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago, can qualify for the Masters with a high finish. He likely would need to be in sixth place or better to be solidly inside the top 50 in the world.

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