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Adam Scott rebounds from Wyndham Championship disappointment with strong Northern Trust start

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Adam Scott tried to take the positives out of a strong week that surprisingly saw him with a chance to win on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship.

And yet, missing a 4-foot putt on the first sudden-death playoff hole that would have won the tournament still stings, a few days later.

Scott rebounded nicely on Thursday at the Northern Trust, where a first-round 67 saw him finish four strokes behind leaders Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm and in a tie for fourth.

But the missed chance at a win after a frustrating stretch of golf remained at the forefront of his mind.

"I'm very disappointed I didn't win that tournament,'' said Scott, who had an eagle, three birdies and a bogey in his opening round at Liberty National. "I gave myself about as good a chance as you could possibly have, and I do pride myself on the fact that there haven't been many putts to win a tournament that I haven't made when I've had the chance. And that's a pretty short one to miss. So I mean ... a little embarrassing.

"I've really struggled to get my game in the shape to contend at the level out here this year, and finally it was feeling that way. Importantly, I wanted to bring it here this week, and so far I have. So that outweighs the disappointment, the encouragement of where tee to green I feel like I'm going well. But I'm running out of weeks to put that to use, so I'd better play well.''

Scott was barely inside the top 125 heading to Greensboro, North Carolina, last week and his tie for second pushed him to 82nd in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 70 after the Northern Trust advance to the BMW Championship next week, and Scott needs no less than a tie for 24th, perhaps a top-20 finish, to move on.

The coronavirus pandemic has made for a difficult time for Scott, who had COVID-19 last October and has struggled with the various travel restrictions around the world. Scott, who is from Australia, makes his home in Switzerland with his wife, Marie, who had the couple's third child last fall. Scott has no United States base, and time to see the family has been scarce, especially with worldwide travel and quarantine issues.

A 14-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2013 Masters, Scott's last victory came at the 2020 Genesis Invitational, just weeks prior to the pandemic shutdown. He was seventh in the world after that victory but slipped to 43rd before moving back to 37th. The tie for second last week was just his second top-10 in all that time.

Scott shot 65 to get into a six-man playoff eventually won by Kevin Kisner. On the first playoff hole, he knocked his approach to 4 feet, and then waited for all the others in the group to play out. Each one of them made a par, so his putt was for the victory.

And a long time elapsed before he was able to hit that putt because of the number of players competing in the playoff.

"There are no excuses, but there was a lot of stuff going on,'' he said. "A lot of guys holed out for four before I'd even hit my third. There was a lot of stuff going on around the hole, and I don't know how long it was before I actually hit a putt because I didn't hit any warming up before the playoff. So it might have been an hour. My routine doesn't even have a practice [putting] swing, so I really didn't even make a move. That's all my fault. It was an odd situation.''

And he chose to look at the good that came out of it.

"I had been so frustrated with where my game had been sitting for most of the year, there was a really high level of satisfaction of just playing well on that weekend, and honestly, until the playoff, I had no expectation to win that tournament at all. And then I really put my mind into winning it,'' he said. "It's probably the least upset I've been to not win a tournament -- or to lose a tournament because I just feel like it's been such a grind and I am pleased to somewhat feel like myself on the golf course again. So I wasn't punching anything this time.''