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Baddeley Rookies Making Early Mark on Tour

PGA Tour (75x100)HONOLULU -- Aaron Baddeley isn't the only rookie who wasted no time making an impact on the PGA Tour.
While Baddeley went 20 holes with Ernie Els before losing in a playoff at the Sony Open, 10 of the 22 other rookies at Waialae Country Club made the cut.
``Guys squeeze up here every year that have tons of talent,'' said Tag Ridings, who finished 10 strokes off the lead. ``They can do it all, like Baddeley.''
Baddeley, the 21-year-old Aussie, is the youngest of the 29 rookies on Tour this season. He earned his way onto the Tour by finishing 10th last year on the Tour money list.
Eight others graduated from the Tour, and 20 worked their way through qualifying school.
Baddeley said he didn't feel like a rookie, having already played 21 PGA Tour events. His best finish was a tie for 44th last year in the Reno-Tahoe Open.
``I knew coming out here, I knew exactly what to expect where some of the other players haven't played a tournament before,'' he said. ``So that definitely helped me coming in this week.''
One thing Baddeley knew coming into the PGA Tour is the money is a lot better. He earned $486,000 in the Sony Open.
``I think I made more than double today than I did all last year,'' he said. ``It'll come in handy when I redecorate my house in the next few weeks.''
Ridings, of Tulsa, Okla., took his time and signed every hat, poster and ball handed to him after finishing his round. It didn't bother him that many of the young autograph seekers didn't know who he was.
``The competition is a little more consistent out here from top to bottom,'' Ridings said. ``Everybody's very good out here, but at the same time, the class I came up with has a high quality of talent. I expect them to do very well.''
Australian Anthony Painter, 37, is having his PGA Tour rookie season in his 19th year as a pro. He has one simple goal this season.
``Nothing short of keeping my card,'' he said.
Charles Howell III, the 2001 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, said he feels like a veteran at 23.
``Ty (Tryon) is out here who's 18, so I feel like an older player,'' he said.
Howell, who won his first PGA Tour event last year, said he advises the newcomers to be patient this season and not to overdo it.
``That's the thing I had to work with,'' he said. ``I think every golfer struggles with at times with just being patient. It's a long year and it's just pacing yourself. It's important to know when to play and when to take some time off.''