Flying without a parachute doesn’t seem to phase Aaron Baddeley.
Playing the US PGA Tour without full status, Baddeley produced his best result in close to three years with a tie for second at the Puerto Rico Open, moving inside the top 60 in the FedEx Cup and earning a start at the Honda Classic this week.
“I feel like overall my game’s in a really good spot,” Baddeley said after the third round at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club. Got off to a really nice start (at the Safeway Open) and been hitting the ball really quite well.”
Elsewhere, Cameron Smith produced his best result in a WGC stroke play tournament with a tie for sixth at the Mexico Championship while a host of Aussies and Kiwis earned limited status at the PGA TOUR Series-China qualifying tournament.
Cameron Smith has further entrenched his status as one of the world’s best with a top-10 finish at the World Golf Championships–Mexico Championship in Mexico City.
No one in the field was able to keep pace with Dustin Johnson as he romped to a five-shot win, three bogeys on the front nine putting Smith on the back foot early in the final round.
Three birdies on the back nine brought him back to one-under for his round and into a tie for sixth, his best performance in a WGC strokeplay tournament after having finished tied for fifth at the Dell Match Play last year.
Former Queensland amateur teammate Jake McLeod made a strong impression in his WGC debut with a tie for 45th, while Ryan Fox’s mad dash from New Zealand after a late call-up may have caught up with him as he produced rounds of 75-76 on the weekend to be tied for 67th.
T-6 Cameron Smith 69-67-68-70—274 $US261,667
T-45 Jake McLeod 70-69-76-70—285 $65,000
T-62 Marc Leishman 77-75-69-72—293 $50,500
T-67 Ryan Fox 72-72-75-76—295 $49,125
70 Matthew Millar 74-82-74-71—301 $48,500
US PGA Tour
It was not the Sunday Aaron Baddeley was hoping for, but the Victorian can take comfort from the fact that his tie for second at the Puerto Rico Open will secure him a start at this week’s Honda Classic.
Without full status in 2019, Baddeley’s only avenues to PGA Tour starts this year is by invitation or playing well, and his second top-five of the season earns him a place in the field at PGA National, taking away some of the sting of an even-par round of 72 after leading through 54 holes.
Three bogeys in the space of four holes on the front nine took the wind out of Baddeley’s tournament charge before birdies at 15 and 18 delivered his best PGA Tour finish since his win at the Barbasol Championship in 2016, three shots behind rookie winner Martin Trainer.
It was a positive week also for Cameron Davis, whose tie for 16th is his best result of the year, with Curtis Luck’s tie for 25th also a season best for the West Australian.
T-2 Aaron Baddeley 70-68-66-72—276 $US198,000
T-16 Cameron Davis 73-71-67-69—280 $45,000
T-25 Curtis Luck 70-68-73-71—282 $21,015
T-49 Robert Allenby 72-73-73-68—286 $7,540
T-49 Stuart Appleby 71-74-69-72—286 $7,540
T-55 Matt Jones 72-72-74-69—287 $6,870
T-62 John Senden 74-69-74-72—289 $6,450
MC Rod Pampling 72-74
PGA Tour Series–China
New South Welshman Tim Stewart narrowly missed out on securing full status for the opening six tournaments of the PGA Tour Series–China schedule with a final round of two-under 68 in the First Global Qualifying Tournament at Foison Golf Club in Guangzhou.
Abdul Hadi from Singapore earned full status for 2019 by finishing two shots clear of the field with Stewart one shot outside those who earned status for the first six events of the year.
Stewart will have conditional status courtesy of his tie for 15th with fellow Aussies Aaron Pike, Hayden Webb, Adam Blyth and Ryan Ruffels, along with Kiwi pair Sam An and Victor Janin who also secured limited status by finishing inside the top 35.
Seven Australians will contest the Second Global Qualifying Tournament – also to be played at Foison Golf Club – starting tomorrow.
T-15 Tim Stewart 69-70-73-68—280
T-19 Sam An 67-69-73-73—282
T-22 Aaron Pike 70-70-72-71—283
T-26 Victor Janin 78-67-72-67—284
T-26 Hayden Webb 73-69-68-74—284
T-32 Ryan Ruffels 74-67-71-74—286
T-32 Adam Blyth 67-71-77-71—286
T-42 Mark Hutson 74-72-71-71—288
T-42 Fraser Wilkin 70-70-73-75—288
T-55 Jack Murdoch 74-76-67-74—291
T-60 Lachlan McDonald 70-72-77-74—293
T-68 Michael Choi 73-75-68-78—294
T-68 Hayden Beard 71-75-75-73—294
T-75 Rohan Blizard 74-76-73-74—297