Duo share lead in Atlanta
Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan are tied at the top heading into the final round of the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup finale.
Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan are tied at the top heading into the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
The Aussie/American duo are two shots clear of the rest of the field, setting up an intriguing final day battle for both the title and the ultimate FedEx Cup honours.
Baddeley shot a superb six-under-par 64 to reach the top of the leaderboard and give himself a great chance of being one of captain Greg Norman’s two wildcard picks for November’s Presidents Cup.
Mahan shot a 66 to join Baddeley at nine under 201, two shots ahead of another Australian, Jason Day, and Korea’s KJ Choi, who shot rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.
Bill Haas (69) and Luke Donald (70) are a further shot back on six under, the latter keeping himself very much in the hunt for the $10million FedEx Cup first prize.
Starting the third round five strokes adrift, Baddeley’s 64 rocketed him up the leaderboard, thanks in part to an eagle two at the par-four fourth after he holed out from the fairway.
“I felt like my game was in good order, so I was excited to get out there and shoot a good score,” said Baddeley.
“Overall, it was a very good day. It was nice to hole some putts.”
Mahan joined the lead on the last hole thanks to a 22-foot birdie putt.
“I’m excited to be in the hunt,” he said after a round that contained five birdies, an eagle and three bogeys.
“To birdie 18 was very, very nice.
“I’ve been playing pretty well all week and I feel like I’ve got a good feel for these greens, which is obviously very important. Every day, I feel like I’m hitting it a little bit better. Everything feels good. I just have to do it for one more day.”
Overnight leader Adam Scott, meanwhile, disappointed with a 74 on Saturday and now lies five shots adrift.
Of the 30 players assembled for the FedEx Cup finale, all of whom started the tournament with a mathematical chance of winning the first prize, Luke Donald probably now finds himself in the best position of the lot.
Fourth in the standings at the start of the week thanks to his incredible consistency, his focus now is on winning at East Lake.
“My focus for this week is to win this tournament, and everything else kind of falls into place if I can do that,” said Donald.
“Only being three back, I’ve still got a great chance. If I don’t get off to a good start tomorrow, then I guess I’ll be looking at potentially where I am in the FedExCup. But until that time happens, I’ll be pressing on to try and win.”
For Baddeley, the focus is simply on playing well, as an awful lot has to go right in order for him to pick up the large cash prize.
“I’m just going to try and win the golf tournament tomorrow,” he 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, a very prestigious event, and then try and impress Greg (Norman) in the process.”
International Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman will announce his two wildcard picks to take on the USA on Tuesday, and Baddeley knows he has given himself a great chance of being one of them.
“Talking to Greg on Monday, I knew I had to play well this week to impress him,” Baddeley said. “So I did a lot of work Tuesday and Wednesday, especially on my putting, and I’m very pleased so far this week.”
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