Since 1980, only five players have pulled off the accomplishment on the PGA Tour. On Sunday (Monday AEDT) at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, Aaron Baddeley will look to become the sixth player to win a tour event after Monday qualifying.
Baddeley, a four-time PGA Tour winner but without a victory since 2016, will start the final round at Port Royal Golf Course at 16-under, just two shots back of the lead shared by Seamus Power and Ben Griffin. Playing this season on past champion status, the Aussie wasn’t in the field this week, so he decided to try his hand at Monday qualifying.
The 41-year-old shot 5-under 66 in the qualifier held in Orlando on October 17 before advancing in a 6-for-2 playoff to earn a tee time this week in Southampton, Bermuda. Funny enough, Baddeley also advanced out of a 6-for-2 playoff to Monday qualify for the Fortinet Championship last month, where he finished T-36th.
Baddeley, whose last tour win came at the 2016 Barbasol Championship, has struggled in recent years, with his last top-10 on the tour coming in 2019. For the veteran with over $US22 million in tour earnings, though, being in contention in Bermuda feels like everything is getting back to normal.
“It feels like it’s the right spot to be, to be honest,” said Baddeley after shooting a third-round 68. “I feel like my game’s been in the spot to be in this position for a while and it’s just nice to be here, be back having a chance to win.”
A Baddeley win on Sunday would be consistent with a theme that is emerging at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in just its fourth iteration. Starting with Brendon Todd’s win here in 2019, Port Royal has proven to be a putter’s paradise.
Both Todd and 2020 champion Brian Gay finished inside the top four in putts per round en route to their wins, and though last year’s champion Lucas Herbert finished T-6 in the stat, he led the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting for the 2021-22 season.
Like Todd, Gay and Herbert, Baddeley has long been regarded as one of the best putters on tour. The Aussie led the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting in 2015 and has rarely strayed from the top 10 in the stat throughout his 20-year career.
Though his numbers have slipped over the past few years, Baddeley said earlier in the week that he’d “got the putting figured out again now,” which has been confirmed so far this week, as he sits T-2 in putts per round.
Should the putter stay hot and he comes back to win, Baddeley would be the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour since Corey Conners did it at the 2019 Valero Texas Open.