Scott stoked to be still in Open hunt

Adam Scott is thrilled not to have been blown out of British Open contention after surviving fierce back-nine winds in the first round at St Andrews.

As countless rivals went backwards in the closing holes during the testing late-afternoon conditions, Scott rallied with two brilliant birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to finish with a highly impressive two-under-par 70.

“Just to get finished was a bonus today. It was getting pretty brutal out there. A lot of hanging on the last two and a half hours as we played the back nine,” Scott said.

“Obviously conditions were a little more favourable this morning. I think 70 this afternoon is pretty good.”

Scott trails first-round leader Dustin Johnson by five strokes and is hoping to make up ground with an early tee time on Friday, though heavy rain is forecast for most of the second round.

“I know if we can just hang in on a day like today, it can even out over the next three days,” Australia’s former world No.1 said.

“You never know, it might be just a little better in the morning than tomorrow afternoon and if I can take advantage of that, it’ll all even out and hopefully I’ll be in the mix come Sunday.

“You kind of make your own chances a little bit as well. If you’re playing really good, you can battle through and stay patient.

“Under par was important for me today as far as the big scheme of this tournament goes.

“Because if you finish 5, 5, 4, all of a sudden I’m just grinding to even make the weekend tomorrow.”

The 2013 Masters champion said he couldn’t recall needing to use a six iron from 120 metres out like he did on certain holes on Thursday.

“I can’t think of a day where I had such strong wind in that direction for the back nine,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had to lay up left on 14 before and take such extreme lines off the 17th tee.”

It was Scott’s 35th birthday and he admitted he was forever hoping to celebrate one year by raising the Claret Jug.

“I need to give myself a very special birthday gift one of these years,” said the 2012 runner-up who also finished equal third in 2013 and tied fifth last year.

“Otherwise it would be very disappointing.”

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