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Scott Opens Up Four-Stroke Lead on McIlroy in Australian Open


Adam Scott doubled his lead over Rory McIlroy in the Australian Open. Starting Saturday with a two-stroke edge over the Ulsterman, Scott carded a 4-under 68 at Royal Sydney Golf Club to forge a 54-hole total of 18-under 200.

The 33-year-old from Adelaide recorded six birdies and two bogeys Saturday to increase his lead over McIlroy by four strokes. After carding rounds of 69 and 65, McIlroy shot a 70 to get to 204.

Scott won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters earlier this month and teamed with Jason Day - who took the individual title - in last week's World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne to win the team component of that event.

If Scott can pull off the victory Sunday, he'll win the "Aussie Slam," with victories in all three of his nation's majors, joining Melbourne native Robert Allenby, who accomplished the feat in 2005.

"To win my national championship tomorrow and then also win the three events down here is an unbelievable spot to be in," said Scott, who became the first Aussie to win the U.S. Masters in April. "If you'd told me that a month ago, I wouldn't have believed you.

"Before this month started, I hadn't won two tournaments in a row ever. So to have this opportunity is a bit unreal."

The six-foot birdie putt by Scott on the par-4 closing hole at Royal Sydney gave him more breathing room over McIlroy, who missed his birdie try on 18 from a shorter distance.

"It was big," McIlroy said of his miss. "It would have been nice to birdie that to make the gap from four to three."

"One round away and a lot can happen," Scott said. "(There's) a phenomenon behind me as well, so I'm sure he's going to throw plenty at me tomorrow. I'm going to have to do a couple of things better than I did today. But as long as the eye stays in with the putter, I should be able to hang on. To finish it off tomorrow would be an incredible way to end the year."

It should be a two-man horse race Sunday involving Scott - ranked No. 2 in the world, and McIlroy (No. 6), as eight strokes behind the leader in third place are Aussies Matthew Jones (72), Richard Green (73) and Max McCardle (69).

Sharing sixth at 209 are Stuart Appleby (67), Nathan Holman (68), Scott Arnold (69) and Leigh McKechnie (71).

Eleventh-ranked Day matched the low round of the day, a 6-under 66, to rise into a tie for 10th at 210 with three others.

For all the scores, visit http://www.golf.org.au/default.aspx?s=mao_live_scores.