Has Baddeley timed his run perfectly?
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 PGA Tour Championship | Round Three | 25 Sep 2011
Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan have the 54 hole lead at the Tour championship in Atlanta, the pair at 9 under and ahead by two over Jason Day and K.J. Choi.
Baddeley’s superb third round of 64 was highlighted by a holed second at the par four 4th hole from 130 yards which flew directly into the cup. He made his share of long putts also, especially through the middle of his back nine, and despite a late bogey at the 17th hole he had done enough to take the lead.
Mahan birdied the final hole to draw level and he and Baddeley will play together in the final group on Sunday in what promises to be an intriguing day.
Baddeley’s timing could not have been better. He has long been considered at least a candidate for one of the final two Captain’s selections for the International Presidents Cup side and it may well be, that barring disasters tomorrow, he has already done enough.
“Yeah, definitely coming into the week, Presidents Cup was on the forefront of my mind,” said Baddeley immediately after his round. “Talking to Greg on Monday, I knew I had to play well this week to impress him. So did a lot of work Tuesday and Wednesday, especially on my putting, and very pleased so far this week.
“We spoke for like three or four minutes. He told me he was just going to watch this week. He told me one other guy he was going to watch and that was about it. He said just go out, play good, win the golf tournament. I said, all right.”
“I mean, I’m just going to try and win the golf tournament tomorrow. Like I said, so much has got to go right for me to win the FedExCup. So for me I just want to try and win the TOUR Championship, which is a great event, very prestigious event, and then try and impress Greg in the process.”
Baddeley has a lot at stake tomorrow. The Tour Championship is one of the most prestigious on the PGA Tour, the huge prizemoney and FedEX Cup bonuses and probably equally important for him a chance to play in the Presidents Cup side for the first time and at home in Melbourne. All three are up for grabs.
Mahan is already a lock in the US Presidents Cup side and although he has not won since his great win at the Bridgestone 13 months ago he has continued to play well.
Jason Day recovered from a slow start to finish at 7 under and just two behind.
“Yeah, obviously we got off to a slow start, but very, very happy,” said Day. “I fought back and got it under par. Whenever you’re shooting under par, you’re kind of moving forward around here, which is nice. I feel like I’m in pretty good position for tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.
“Obviously the $10 million weighs on your mind, but the thing is you have to win first before you win the FedExCup. Right now I’m just trying to not focus on anything other than going back and relaxing tonight and then coming back over tomorrow and taking a step at a time.”
Luke Donald is at 6 under along with Bill Haas. Donald could well be the big threat for all tomorrow. He was frustrated with his play but knows he is not out of it.
“It was another tough day, said Donald. “I struggled really finding any rhythm, finding my game. I couldn’t get in the short stuff, and when I did, I wasn’t hitting particularly great irons, either. But I could have gone the other way pretty quickly, and I hung in there pretty good. And I’ve still got a chance tomorrow, so I’m going to see it as a positive, and hopefully tomorrow is an easier day.”
Haas could well lock up the one remaining US Presidents Cup Team pick if he finishes off well tomorrow especially given the demise today of Brandt Snedeker.
Adam Scott struggled through his back nine to finish with 74 and trails the leaders by five, Geoff Ogilvy is eight from the lead and John Senden is in 24th position and 12 shots behind.
Senden’s outside chance of a Presidents Cup selection seems to have disappeared but he has done well to make this field for the second occasion and will gain plenty of benefit from it in terms of starts in significant events next year.
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