Badds in Good Position for Aussie Repeat

By Associated PressJune 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Aaron Baddeley teetered on the edge of a collapse, staring at bogeys on the golf course and Tiger Woods' name high on the leaderboard.
 
He showed he might be up to the challenge.
 
Baddeley escaped with an amazing par from deep rough at the base of a bunker on the 17th hole, finished strong with a birdie for an even-par 70 and wound up with a two-shot lead over Woods after three rounds of the U.S. Open on Saturday.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was a few missed putts away from leading after 54 holes. (Getty Images)
The Australian kid who was beating world-class players as an amateur now faces the biggest test of his career.
 
Woods was nearly perfect from tee-to-green, hitting every green in regulation until he had to lay up from the rough on the 18th hole and took his only bogey for a 69, one of only two rounds under par even though Oakmont's fearsome greens showed a softer side.
 
Woods, who has never won a major when trailing going into the final round, will be playing in the last group at a major for the second time this year. He was one shot behind at the Masters and tied for second.
 
'I've been there before, and I know what it takes,' Woods said.
 
Paul Casey shot a 72 and was at 5-over 215 with Stephen Ames (73), Justin Rose (73) and Bubba Watson (75), who made a triple bogey from the left side of the ninth green but steadied himself with pars and a lone bogey the rest of the way.
 
The other subpar round belonged to Steve Stricker, who holed out from 74 yards for birdie on the 18th hole for a 68 to give himself a chance at 6-over 216, tied with former champion Jim Furyk (70) and 36-hole leader Angel Cabrera, who slowly lost ground until he chopped his way to a bogey-bogey finish for a 76.
 
Some thought Baddeley's moment would have come much earlier.
 
He won the Australian Open as an 18-year-old amateur in 1999 by holding off Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie, saying then that his goal was to become better than Woods. He won the Australian Open a year later as a pro, but found detours in America, struggling to get his card and picking up his first PGA Tour only last year.
 
But he showed impressive poise on an Oakmont course that played tamer with accessible hole locations and greens that had been watered three times after the carnage of Friday afternoon.
 
As the leaders began to lose ground, Baddeley surged ahead. He made three birdies in a four-hole stretch, culminating with a 6-foot putt on the 13th hole that stretched his lead to three. But he took bogey after a tee shot into deep rough on the 15th hole, dropped another shot with a tee shot into the bunker on the par-3 16th and looked to be in big trouble on the 17th.
 
Opting for an iron off the tee on a hole where Woods earlier drove onto and through the green, Baddeley's ball tumbled down the slope of a bunker and stayed in the thick grass just above the sand. Gripping the club almost to the shaft, the ball up to his shins, he somehow hit wedge onto the fringe and walked off with a par.
 
Then came the birdie on No. 18, one more shot between him and Woods.
 
'I've played with Tiger in two Masters,' said Baddeley, who also played with him in 2000. 'It's not abnormal to play with Tiger in the majors. Tiger is the best player in the world, but I feel like I'm playing nicely.'
 
Woods finally looked like he was on his game, too, on the verge of the first bogey-free round at Oakmont until his tee shot found the right fairway bunker and he couldn't reach the green. Even so, he couldn't argue with his position.
 
'Right in the mix,' Woods said.
 
Oakmont was on the edge of being close to impossible Friday afternoon, and the USGA responded by twice watering the greens overnight, then again two hours before the third round.
 
'They took pity on us,' Jeff Brehaut said after his even-par 70 left him six shots behind. 'I wasn't expecting that.'
 
For the first time all week, attention shifted from the course to the players.
 
One in particular.
 
Woods was close to perfect from tee-to-green, giving himself realistic birdie chances on every hole and rarely having to work for par. An 8-iron stopped 8 feet away on No. 3 for birdie, and he followed that with a 3-iron into 20 feet on the par-5 fourth and a chance at eagle. He dropped his putter and placed his hands on his knees when it broke in front of the cup, something Woods got used to seeing.
 
He had putts inside 15 feet on the fifth and seventh that he barely touched because they were above the hole, longer putts on the eighth and ninth that tickled the edge of the cup.
 
Most impressive of all was his control, hitting every green in regulation until the final hole.
 
'If he'd putted like I did, he'd have shot 6 under,' said first-round leader Nick Dougherty, who played with Woods and shot 74. 'Tee to green, he's just awesome. It's going to take something pretty special to beat him tomorrow. If he plays like that tomorrow, nobody's going to beat him.'
 
But just like Saturday at the Masters, Woods didn't quite finish it off.
 
He was atop the leaderboard at Augusta National until a bogey-bogey finish put him one shot behind Stuart Appleby.
 
This time, Woods drove the green on the par-4 17th, but it skidded through and into rough so deep that the best he could do was leave himself about 25 feet for birdie, and he had to make a 5-footer for par. Woods saved his worst tee shot for the end, into a deep bunker right of the fairway with no shot at reaching the green. His third was long, about 15 feet above the hole, and it again grazed the edge.
 
By then, Baddeley had run off a pair of birdies to get to 1 over. The Australian gave back two shots in the final hour, but he still managed to keep his nose in front and then gave himself a small cushion with the 15-foot birdie on the last hole.
 
Still, a dozen players were separated by five shots going into the final round on a course that is tough even when the USGA wants it to play slightly easier.
 
'This golf course doesn't lend itself to too many birdies,' Ames said. 'So the guy who makes the least mistakes will be the guy to win.'
 
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    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

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    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


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    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

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    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

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    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

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    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

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    LPGA money-winning title
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    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

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    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

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    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

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    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

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    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”