ATLANTA - Adam Scott's worst swing turned into his best shot Saturday, a tap-in eagle that carried him to 3-under-par 67 and a surprisingly comfortable lead in the Tour Championship.
Tied for the lead with Joe Durant, Scott was in the first cut of rough on the left side of the par-5 15th fairway when he caught his 3-iron thin and slumped his shoulders as it ran up the steep slope. But it kept rolling, and rolling, until it climbed onto the green and stopped 2 feet away for an unlikely eagle.
"I thought it would be short," Scott said. "But it was going where I was aiming. I hit a lot of other great shots that didn't turn out as well. It's unexplainable."
The eagle gave the Australian star the lead, and it got even bigger when Durant bogeyed the next two holes.
Scott was at 7-under 203 and will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the last PGA Tour event of the year. He will play in the final group with Vijay Singh, who shot 30 on the back nine on his way to 65 and was at 206. Durant wound up with 70 and also was three shots behind.
For all the talk about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson sitting this one out, there was plenty of star power at East Lake Golf Club. Five of the top 10 players in the world ranking are among the top eight on the leaderboard.
Jim Furyk birdied three consecutive holes in his round of 67, while Retief Goosen made a couple of clutch pars to salvage a 68, and both were at 207. Also still in the hunt were Ernie Els (66) and Luke Donald (69) at 209.
"Who's not here?" Singh said with a laugh. "I'm here, right? Ernie is here. Furyk is here. The golf tournament is still here."
And there's still a $1.17 million payoff to the winner, and a crystal trophy that Scott is desperate to get.
He has played some of his most consistent golf this year and this is his last chance to win on the PGA Tour.
"It's a great position to be in," Scott said. "You can see all the great players making a move, creeping up the leaderboard. I've got to keep moving. I really need to knuckle down tomorrow."
As pleased as he was with his eagle, Scott was equally impressed closing with three consecutive pars. And it didn't hurt when Durant missed the 16th green to the left and chipped short, taking bogey, then three-putted the 17th.
The temperatures remained chilly, but scoring conditions were good with only a moderate breeze. That was evident when former British Open champion Ben Curtis went out with 66, and other sub-par scores followed.