By Ed Osmond
LYTHAM ST ANNES, England (Reuters) - Adam Scott birdied the last hole to complete a second-round 67 and tuck in just one shot behind leader Brandt Snedeker at the British Open on Friday.
Australian Scott, who led overnight following a superb 64, dropped a shot at the third but birdies at the seventh, 10th and 11th repaired the damage and his final flourish left him on nine under par and within touching distance of the surprise American pacesetter.
Scott saw no reason why he and Snedeker should not be in the mix come Sunday despite the presence of 14-times major winner Tiger Woods who carded a second 67 to finish on six under.
"If you're playing good on Thursday and Friday and Saturday and you're leading you're playing better than anybody else that week," the world number 13 told a news conference.
"So it seems to make sense that you can go on to win because you're playing good. It's not often that I've led a tournament not playing very well.
"At some point to win a tournament you're going to have to be out in front, unless you shoot 10 under the last day and come from way back," said Scott.
"So you'd better get comfortable with that position. I like that and usually when I'm in that position I'm feeling comfortable because I'm hitting the ball well and things are under control, it's not just a fluke that I'm up there."
Scott, 32, is seeking his first major title as is Saturday playing partner Snedeker, but the Australian said they would not get involved in a matchplay situation in the third round.
"I just have to play my game. It's certainly not the last round and I should be just out there playing my game and trying to do the same things I've done the first two days. It's been really effective."
Scott has played in 12 previous Opens with a best finish of tied eighth at Hoylake in 2006 when Woods claimed his third and most recent triumph in the event.
Given the state of modern golf, with no dominant player like a few years ago when Woods was at his peak, Scott said it would be a tough task to clinch his first major.
"It's harder to win. I think you've got to give everyone who's won one in the last few years some credit because the talent pool is definitely building fast and it's going to be harder and harder to win," added Scott.
"But these are guys you compete with every week pretty much and there's obviously a lot of emphasis on the majors. So if you can balance out all those pressures, sure, you can think 'yeah, why not me?'".
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)