MASTERS NOTEBOOK

Defending champ Scott falters on greens

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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Defending champion Adam Scott of Australia lost his touch on the treacherous greens at Augusta National Golf Club.

Scott came up short with his long putter Saturday, three-putting twice in the first four holes and tumbled down the leader board at the 78th Masters.

Scott needed 35 putts to get through the third round and finished with a 4-over 76 that left him 1 over for the tournament. He is six strokes behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson heading into the final round.

"It's not the end of the world," Scott said. "There are a lot of people between me and the leaders. But if I can play a good front nine, anything can happen on the back, and it would be fun to post a number and sit in the clubhouse and watch."

Scott is trying to become the fourth to don consecutive green jackets. Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02) accomplished the feat.

By the time Scott teed off in the third round, the Augusta greens were getting harder and faster by the minute. Scott handled them with relative ease a year ago and again in the first two rounds this time around.

But they got to him Saturday.

He three-putted the par-4 first and did the same at par-3 fourth. Throw in two putts everywhere else through seven holes, and Scott's anchored putter failed him. He shot a 4-over 40 on the front nine.

"I just kind of compounded my mistakes early with a couple three-putts and got me off on the wrong foot," he said.

Chip shots

TV ratings continue to be down at the Masters, where Tiger Woods is absent for the first time in 20 years. ESPN said its live telecast of the second round earned a 1.8 household rating (2.5 million viewers), which was down 40 percent from a year ago. ... Ben Crenshaw told Golf Channel that he has decided 2015 will be his final year playing the Masters. It will be his 44th consecutive appearance. ... An unidentified woman was thrown out of the Masters after she ran across the green before Watson's approach shot on the 10th.


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