Adam Scott is making no secret of his nagging pursuit of British Open redemption after storming into contention with a majestic round of ball-striking at St Andrews.
Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy and Steven Bowditch added more than a coat of green and gold to the Open leaderboard on a wild, wet and windy second day of the championship.
Day defied deteriorating conditions to pick up two strokes and move to eight under par for the tournament – to trail American leader Dustin Johnson by two shots – before fading light forced the suspension of the second round just before 10pm local time.
The world No.9 will resume early on Saturday, facing a testing six-footer to stay two under for his round.
“It was certainly tough with the winds and the cold and it was just a really good test of golf,” Day said.
“It is going to be even harder tomorrow but I’m looking forward to coming out tomorrow and trying to get it in at a good score before heading out again.”
Scott is one stroke behind Day, with Ogilvy (68) and Bowditch (69) five off the pace and in the top 15 after also producing some back-nine magic on Friday.
But Scott is the sentimental favourite after enduring a series of heartbreaking near misses over the past three years.
None have been more gut-wrenching than his 2012 collapse, when the Queenslander leaked four shots in the final four holes at Royal Lytham to all but gift the Claret Jug to Ernie Els.
“I’m very motivated. I definitely let that one slip and I would love to be sitting here having won The Open – but I’m going to have to work hard for it,” Scott said.
“I’ve had a couple good looks at it since then. I played really well last year and was just too far behind, and then at Muirfield (in 2013) I was leading on the back nine, and Mickelson finished great and I didn’t.
“I think I’m playing with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder.”
There’s a sense of destiny the 35-year-old will fittingly tend to his unfinished business at golf’s spiritual home on Sunday.
“It’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to play my way, in with a chance,” Scott said.
“The last few years at The Open has been some of my favourite golf. Getting into contention at this championship and having a chance to lift the Claret Jug is what it’s all about.
“This is a great position. I’m excited for my weekend.”
Scott looked every bit a man believing he would triumph as he strode into the scorers’ hut following his unblemished round on Friday that featured five birdies and several more agonising misses.
“Any time you can go bogey-free at a major, it’s going to be a good round,” he said.
“And in these conditions, it was really good.”
Apart from Day, Scott, Ogilvy and Bowditch, at least three other Australians remain in the mix.
Matt Jones and Greg Chalmers are both three under midway through their suspended second rounds, Brett Rumford is two under after successive 71s, while Marcus Fraser (69) and Marc Leishman (73) are both at one under.