Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard 2014: Adam Scott struggling to stay on top at Bay Hill

The defending Masters champ is on the verge of becoming the No. 1 player in the world, but his weeklong lead at Bay Hill is evaporating thanks to some shaky final round play.

The leaders are through the front nine at Bay Hill, and Adam Scott is barely hanging on at the top of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scott, who seemed to wrap this tourney up Thursday morning with a course record matching round of 62, has been leaking oil all day and now has a share of the lead with a charging Matt Every at 13-under.

Scott hit the midpoint of the tournament with a 7-shot lead but started the final round with a more precarious three-shot advantage on a streaking Keegan Bradley. So the prospects for a chasedown were much more realistic than it looked like they'd be 24 hours earlier, and the 2013 Masters champ further opened the door with a sloppy bogey on his first hole of the day. Scott then pulled one into the lake down the left side of the third fairway, his usually steady work off the tee going off track early in the round. He'd recover to make a bogey, but the start led AP writer Doug Ferguson to say he was in "Lytham mode" (site of his notorious British Open collapse on Sunday).

The Aussie, who should take over the No. 1 ranking in the world by the Masters with a win this week, got a shot back on the par-5 fourth hole. He's dominated the par-5s all week, playing those holes 6-under in his opening round alone. But that birdie at the fourth has been the lone bright spot in an outward 38 full of shaky shots and missed greens in regulation.

Fortunately for Scott, his playing partner and main challenger at the start of the day has been just as poor on the opening nine. Bradley played his first three holes in 3-over, including a nasty double bogey on the second hole that gave Scott the cushion he needed during his own struggles at the start. He's gotten two of those shots back to get within two of Scott, but that three-hole stretch to open the round will be hard to overcome.

With Bradley sputtering, Jason Kokrak and Florida native Matt Every have emerged as the top chasers as we get to the back nine. Kokrak is one shot back and Every pulled even with a long birdie putt at the 10th to get to 13-under, finally ending Scott's solo reign at the top of the leaderboard. Neither player has ever won on the PGA Tour, and both would earn their first Masters berth with the win. Here's the top of the leaderboard as we move to the back nine on Sunday:

Place Player Score Thru
T1 Matt Every -13 10
T1 Adam Scott -13 9
3 Jason Kokrak -12 10
4 Keegan Bradley -11 9
T5 Erik Compton -9 13
T5 Chesson Hadley -9 10
T5 Francesco Molinari -9 10
T8 Brandt Snedeker -8 F
T8 Henrik Stenson -8 14
T8 Freddie Jacobson -8 11

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