Scott takes lead; Woods struggles

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, August 6, 2011

AKRON (AP) — Adam Scott was losing ground Saturday at Firestone when he decided to stick with what was working. Four birdies later, he had a 4-under 66 and a one-shot lead in the Bridgestone Invitational.

On a day when seven players had a share of the lead at one point, Scott went back to a left-to-right shape off the tee and surged through the back nine to take a one-shot lead over Jason Day and Ryo Ishikawa, the 19-year-old from Japan who will try to become the youngest winner of a PGA Tour event in 100 years.

Scott was at 12-under 198, the lost 54-hole score at Firestone in 10 years.

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About the only thing Tiger Woods can now get out of this week are four rounds and some points to help him qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs at the end of the month. Woods, a seven-time winner at Firestone who hasn’t played in nearly three months, struggled again with his putting and had a 72. He was 13 shots behind in a tie for 38th in the 76-man field.

“I’ve just got to put together a good round and let it build,” Woods said.

Scott atop the leaderboard should be compelling enough, especially with Woods back to golf. It was only two weeks ago when Woods announced he had fired his caddie, and Scott picked him up on a full-time basis.

But that’s became old news because of the youngest player in the field.

Ishikawa might be the only other player in golf to appreciate what it’s like to get attention like Woods. He has been a star in Japan since he won his first tournament as a 15-year-old amateur.

, and his 10 wins on the Japan Golf Tour include shooting a 58 in the final round to win The Crowns.

He doesn’t get much respect in these parts because he has struggled in America, with only one top 10 in 2010 when Ishikawa reached the third round of the Match Play Championship.

But a tie for 20th in the Masters helped put him at ease, and while he arrived in Ohio after a missed cut in Japan, he has hit his stride among the tree-lined fairways of Japan.

Ishikawa opened with three birdies on the front nine and never eased back, making enough escapes out of the trees and a few more birdies for a 64 that put him in the final group of this World Golf Championship.

A win would make him the youngest winner of a PGA Tour-sponsored even since John McDermott won the 1911 U.S. Open at 19. McDermott was one week younger.