Adam Scott ‘tightened the screws’ as his dream of becoming world No.1 was slipping away to ensure his quest is not dead and buried just yet.
The Masters champion found himself on the closing stretch of his second round at the World Golf Championships event a distant 10 shots back and seemingly bleeding to a slow death.
But in brutal conditions at Trump National Doral’s Blue Monster course where winds blew around 60 kilometres an hour, the world No.2 realised he couldn’t be the only one struggling and found another gear.
Three birdies in his final five holes while others continued to struggle rescued his round to a one-over 73 and although he sits at four-over 148 in a tie for 21st he is still within striking distance of the leaders.
Just four of the 68 in the world-class field, which boasts 49 of the top-50 players on the planet, finished under par at the halfway mark of the tournament.
The par-72 course averaged out at 76 as a record 113 balls ended up in the water in the second round alone with Americans Dustin Johnson (74), Patrick Reed (75), Matt Kuchar (74) and Hunter Mahan (74) holding sway at one-under 143 to share the lead.
“The day was getting away from me so I had to tighten the screws right down to somehow salvage it and at least let me dream for the weekend,” Scott said.
“Obviously everyone was really battling. It was brutal.”
Scott would move to world No.1 if he won the event and current top dog Tiger Woods finished worse than fifth.
The 14-time major winning American is living up to his half of the equation currently at one shot worse than Scott at five-over and tied 25th.
Scott joined a chorus of players who thought some pin placements were borderline unfair on the newly re-designed courses where immature greens and shaved banks joined the wind in causing havoc.
“Everything was tough out there. There were some tough borderline pins out there and long holes,” he said.
“I shot one-over in the afternoon and I’m giving myself a pass mark with the average at 76.
“There is so much water and it is so penal in this wind because a miss on a water hole has no recovery.
“If they knew it was going to be this windy I thought they may have put the pins in more central locations.”
Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy (74) and Graeme McDowell (71) plus Italy’s Francesco Molinari (75) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (70) shared fifth at even par.
Asian Tour regular Australian Scott Hend joined Scott at four-over but was disappointed given he dropped five shots over his final eight holes.
Brett Rumford continues to struggle near the foot of the leaderboard, shooting 83-79 to be second last at 18-over.