sport

Scott aims for winning finale

World number five Adam Scott is desperate to end 2012 on a high at the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath this week.

Scott is winless this year after letting a final-round lead slip at the Open in July to finish second behind South African Ernie Els.

But the 32-year-old arrives in Melbourne in good form after tying for fifth at the Singapore Open last week and is keen to notch his 19th win as a professional.

"In some ways it has been a really good year as I have played a lot of really good golf," Scott said.

"I have been very consistent week in and week out, performing at a pretty high level, but I haven't managed to put four days together at the right time.

"I am pretty desperate for a win and I will be focused starting tomorrow morning."

Despite his late slump at Royal Lytham and St Annes, where he bogeyed his final four holes to lose to Els by a solitary shot, the Open is Scott's fondest memory of this season.

"The Open was definitely the highlight of my year, for sure," he said.

"It was a great week for me to play so well and control the tournament until the end is what I have been working hard over the last couple of years to do.

"The result wasn't what I was expecting with an hour or so to play, but there is always going to be a lesson to be learnt from that and I look forward to getting back in that position next year.

"It was a great experience and it is more of a motivator than anything for me to get back and have another shot at it."

Another player with much to savour this year is defending champion Ian Poulter, the key man in Europe's Ryder Cup victory with four points including a dramatic five-birdie finish as he and Rory McIlroy beat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson on the Saturday evening.

The Englishman also won his second World Golf Championship event earlier this month at the HSBC Champions, another highlight in an excellent year, and said: "I would have said it was a very steady year playing as well as I played in the majors, finishing top 10 in three of them.

"The Ryder Cup always kind of lights my fire and that was a pretty good week, to say the least.

"The HSBC Champions event was obviously a big win and I'm glad to obviously come here in good form and hopefully try and put the (gold) jacket on."

The two players were asked about the controversy over the use of long putters, and had contrasting views.

While Poulter urged the sport's lawmakers to "ban it, end of story", Scott - whose game has moved to a new level since switching to a long putter - unsurprisingly offered the opposite viewpoint.

"There is no actual evidence that putting with an anchored putter is better or easier," he said. "If it is, I would assume everyone would be doing it.

"Length (of hitting) is more of an issue in the game than anything else. Courses have been made obsolete, great courses. I think that's something that the powers that be should be looking at rectifying, not the way guys are putting."

Scott will be partnered by Graeme McDowell and amateur Oliver Goss in the first round at Kingston Heath, while Poulter is grouped with home pair Stuart Appleby and Richard Green.