Baddeley Leads Els by Two

By Sports NetworkJanuary 18, 2003, 5:00 pm
HONOLULU -- Aaron Baddeley posted a 5-under 65 on Saturday to take the third-round lead in his first event as a member of the PGA Tour, the Sony Open in Hawaii. The 21-year-old stands at 15-under-par 195 and owns a two-shot lead over Ernie Els at Waialae Country Club.
Robert Gamez (65), Briny Baird (67) and Chris DiMarco (69) are tied for third place at 10-under-par 200.
Retief Goosen shared the second-round lead with Baddeley but opened with a triple-bogey at No. 1. He carded a 2-over 72 and is tied for eighth place at 8-under par.
Baddeley did all of his damage on the front side at Waialae, as conditions were much more difficult on Saturday thanks to winds that reached 25 mph, firming up many of the greens.
The young Australian birdied No. 2 and holed a 12-footer for birdie at the fourth. At the par-3 seventh, Baddeley rolled home a 25-foot birdie putt to reach 13-under par and go two clear of the field.
At the 510-yard, par-5 ninth, Baddeley had only an 8-iron in his hands but thanks to a drive that landed in the right rough, his ball bounded 40 feet from the hole. Baddeley sank the long eagle putt to complete a front-nine, 5-under 30 and put him five shots ahead.
'I played very well on the front nine,' said Baddeley, who earned his PGA Tour card by finishing 10th on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2002. 'I hit it close a few times. I was quite relaxed the whole time. The tee shot on one calmed me down.'
Baddeley missed several greens on the back nine Saturday but a solid short game, coupled with only 24 putts for the round, kept him in the top spot.
At the 16th, Baddeley drove into the left rough behind trees. He smoked a low shot that flew through the green and into a back bunker, leaving him with a down-wind, downhill blast out of the trap. Baddeley's shot out of the sand left him with six feet and the 21-year-old calmly drained the putt to save par.
Baddeley had no real chance at birdie on the last two holes as he had 30 feet for birdie at 17 and drove in the rough at 18. But the young Australian has the 54-hole lead in his first event as a member of the PGA Tour.
'I thought I played alright on the back side, I just missed a couple of greens,' said Baddeley. 'The swing still felt good out there. I only just missed the greens. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'
Sunday's final pairing will feature Baddeley and Els. In the last week, Els established a new PGA Tour record for scoring in relation to par with his 31-under, eight-shot drubbing of the field at the Mercedes Championships, which moved him to second in the World Golf Rankings.
Baddeley is a battle-tested rookie in the golf world. He won two Australian Opens before he turned 20 and bested Sergio Garcia in a playoff to capture the 2001 Holden International.
'I'll go out and I'm just going to enjoy it,' said Baddeley. 'Ernie's a laid back fellow. I get along well with Ernie. I think tomorrow is going to be a good day. All I can do is get out there and golf my golf ball and if I can do that, hopefully I can get a win.'
Els got into second place with a birdie at the 14th but he still trailed Baddeley by four. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th and made it two in a row with a 20-footer at the 17th to get within striking distance of Baddeley.
'You just have to try and keep going,' said Els, who shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday. 'The greens were so fast today. You have to hit a lot of greens and then try and get your putter hot.'
Els knows that despite his huge success of late, he will have to do more than just show up to visit the winner's circle on Sunday.
'He's obviously very hungry to win his first event,' said Els, who can become the first player since Steve Jones in 1989 to win the first two events on a PGA Tour calendar. 'He's got a lot of talent. He's very much going to be a star of the future. Obviously, he's a guy for big occasions. He's definitely not scared. This is the big leagues, now, but he's a big-league player.'
Shigeki Maruyama is alone in sixth place at 9-under par, followed by Goosen and Robert Allenby, who are tied for seventh at minus-8.
Jerry Kelly, the 2002 Sony Open winner, is part of a group in ninth at 7-under-par 203. Among the other players who are tied for ninth place are 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, Fred Funk and 1999 Sony Open champion Jeff Sluman.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Sony Open
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''