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Scott pushes lead to 3 strokes with 68

Adam Scott, Third Round, St. Jude
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Adam Scott will try to win for the second time this season.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Adam Scott wanted to test himself in the pressure of tournament play before the U.S. Open.

The world's fourth-ranked player might wind up being his own best competition.

Scott has put himself in position to head to Oakmont Country Club as a wire-to-wire winner with a three-stroke lead Saturday through three rounds of the Stanford St. Jude Championship, shooting a 2-under 68 at the stingy TPC Southwind course.

The Australian tried to downplay his lead after three straight rounds in the 60s on a 7,239-yard course where no one has shot better than 66.

"Three shots is nothing really," Scott said. "That's a couple-hole turnaround out there. I mean there's plenty of trouble to get in on this golf course. The pins are in quite difficult positions, and they have been every day. If you get out of position, it's hard to get back in.

"Three shots is definitely not a big enough lead as far as I'm concerned. It'd be nice to get off to a good start tomorrow and make it hard for them to catch me."

Scott, the Houston Open winner the week before the Masters, didn't panic when Brian Gay took advantage of his two bogeys and went up by two strokes. He merely focused on hitting fairways and sticking his irons close to the pins, taking his own two-stroke edge in the span of three holes.

"He's playing good," Gay said. "I'll have to shoot three shots lower than him tomorrow."

Scott, who shared the first-round lead with Fredrik Jacobson, had to wait until Saturday morning to see if he remained atop the leaderboard. A three-hour rain delay Friday led to a suspension that left 26 players to finish the second round Saturday.

Only Andrew Buckle, a fellow Aussie, had a chance to catch Scott at the end of the second round, and he double-bogeyed his final hole. That left Scott up by a stroke lead after 36 holes. His third-round 68 gave him a 9-under 201 total.

Two-time Memphis winner David Toms shot a 66 and was 6 under along with Gay (70). Toms will be paired with Scott in the final group Sunday but didn't expect an advantage from fans due to his long association with this event.

"He's the next superstar if he's not already," Toms said. "He's a nice fellow and good for the game of golf. He'll be tough. Obviously, he's won this year already. He played well last week. He's obviously on a roll right now."

Woody Austin (67) was 5 under, followed by Brian Davis (68) at 4 under. Jacobson (70), Dean Wilson (66), Will MacKenzie (67), Joe Durant (68) and Brandt Snedeker (69) were 3 under.

John Daly, who overshadowed Scott's steady performance Friday when he accused his wife of waking him up that morning by attacking him with a steak knife, came in tied for 58th. He shot a 75 and was 74th at 9 over.

(Click here for an update on the story.)

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