Baddeley dream in tact
Aaron Baddeley (Gallo Images)
Aaron Baddeley has dreamt of playing in his first Presidents Cup all year, and the Australian has given himself every chance of achieving that goal at this week's Tour Championship.Full leaderboard and LIVE scoring - CLICK HERE
Baddeley is among a handful of contenders for the final two spots on Greg Norman's 12-man International team to take on the United States at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from November 17-20.
Norman gave his fellow Australian a timely pep talk earlier this week, and Baddeley has capitalised on that motivation by surging into a tie for the lead in Saturday's third round.
"That's been a huge goal of mine, to make that team and play down in Melbourne," Baddeley told reporters after firing a six-under-par 64 at East Lake to end the day level with American Hunter Mahan at nine-under 201.
"It was definitely on the forefront of my mind to be able to knuckle down, play well this week and show Greg that I've got some form."
Asked what Norman had told him during their conversation, Baddeley replied: "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'. For me it's a motivator."
The other player Norman has been monitoring this week at East Lake is Australian John Senden who carded a 69 on Saturday to lie joint 24th in the elite field of 30.
As long as Baddeley remains in the title hunt during Sunday's final round, he should clinch one of the two wildcard picks to be announced by Norman on Tuesday.
The other is widely expected to go to another Australian, Robert Allenby, a Royal Melbourne expert who ended up 13th in the final Presidents Cup standings. The first 10 players on the team were decided by the world rankings.
"I really want to be on that team, so I knew I had to play well this week," said the 30-year-old Baddeley, who has never previously played in the Ryder Cup-style team competition.
"I got some good work done on Tuesday and Wednesday, especially on my putting, and I'm very pleased so far."
The Presidents Cup has previously been staged at Royal Melbourne, in 1998 when Baddeley was an enthusiastic spectator.
"I remember watching, going down there and seeing Freddie (Couples), seeing Jim Furyk, seeing all the guys down there, seeing Norman playing," said Baddeley, a three-times winner on the PGA Tour
"I have always wanted to play in Presidents Cups. It's been a massive goal for me."
Scores on Saturday after the third round of the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club (USA unless noted, par-70):
201 - Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 68-69-64, Hunter Mahan 67-68-66
203 - KJ Choi (KOR) 68-65-70, Jason Day (AUS) 67-67-69
204 - Luke Donald (GBR) 66-68-70, Bill Haas 68-67-69
205 - Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) 70-67-68, Phil Mickelson 68-70-67
206 - Charles Howell 67-71-68, Adam Scott (AUS) 67-65-74
207 - Keegan Bradley 64-71-72, Steve Stricker 68-70-69, Bo Van Pelt 71-70-66
208 - Matt Kuchar 67-70-71
209 - Jason Dufner 66-70-73, Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 69-68-72, Webb Simpson 69-70-70
211 - Chez Reavie 66-77-68, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 74-67-70, Brandt Snedeker 68-69-74, David Toms 73-65-73, Nick Watney 72-67-72
212 - Gary Woodland 72-68-72
213 - Dustin Johnson 70-73-70, John Senden (AUS) 73-71-69
214 - Justin Rose (GBR) 69-75-70, Bubba Watson 71-64-79
216 - Mark Wilson 72-70-74
217 - Jonathan Byrd 70-74-73, Yang Yong-eun (KOR) 72-70-75