Adam Scott admits being outclassed by record-setting golfers on the PGA Tour is crushing but believes his defeat to Memorial Tournament winner Patrick Cantlay has ignited a fire ahead of the US Open.
For the second time on the PGA Tour this season, the Queenslander finished solo second to a competitor beating records and forcing Scott's winless drought to continue.
On Sunday at Muirfield Village in Ohio, it was Cantlay and the 27-year-old American came from the clouds with an eight-under-par 64 to defeat Scott by two strokes at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial.
Cantlay started Sunday four strokes from the lead and his 64 was the lowest-ever final round by a Memorial winner – beating the record which Tiger Woods last equalled when he triumphed in 2009.
"It's tough on the PGA Tour. Shoot 20 under or don't think about winning," Scott joked after posting a creditable 68 to finish at 17 under.
Scott also finished second at the PGA Tour event at California's famed Torrey Pines in January, when England's Justin Rose posted a 21-under (267) to earn the lowest 72-hole score there in 20 years.
"It's disappointing not to win, for sure," Scott said.
"I really played good golf this week and it just wasn't good enough. I've got to be a little bit better."
The 18-time major winner Nicklaus praised Scott's patience on Sunday given his worldwide winless drought is more than three years.
"When you haven't won for a while, you have a tendency to want to press but Adam was very patient," Nicklaus said.
RIGHT: Scott fell two shots short of Patrick Cantlay at the Memorial Tournament. PHOTO: Andy Lyons/Getty Images.
"Adam played a good round of golf. On the 18th green, I said: ‘You played well today but he ran into a 64.’”
However, Scott has plenty of reasons to be optimistic as he heads to California this week to practice for the US Open at the iconic Pebble Beach.
His ball-striking was prolific, leading the elite Memorial field in iron play while finding a whopping 71 percent of fairways.
Using the longer, broomstick putter, he is also ranked in the top 20 putters on the PGA Tour.
Scott is desperate to add an elusive second major title to his 2013 Masters victory and feels his five top-10 results from 12 PGA Tour starts this season are building towards his goal.
"I've got a sense of how good my game needs to be to hold up down the stretch at a major, especially (at Pebble Beach)," Scott said.
"I'm very happy with where things are at. It's just going to make me hungrier for two weeks' time now, and it's a good time to be playing well."
Marc Leishman was next best of the Australians, carding a 69 to finish outright fifth at 12 under.
Aaron Baddeley (73, five under) and Matt Jones (76, one under) rounded out the Australian contingent.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press