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September 24 2011

10:14 PM

Baddeley’s putting puts him step closer

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

ATLANTA -- Aaron Baddeley will have a possible FedExCup when he tees off in Sunday's final round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. But his main concern will be on something else -- winning the tournament and perhaps a spot in this year's Presidents Cup, to be held in his native Australia in November.

Baddeley's in good position to achieve a lot of things thanks to his 6-under 64, the low round of the day at East Lake on Saturday. He's tied with Hunter Mahan for the 54-hole lead and will play in the final twosome.

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Baddeley

First and foremost, he knows winning the tournament will go a long way in impressing International captain Greg Norman, who will make his two Captain's Picks on Tuesday.

"So much as got to go right for me to win the FedExCup," said Baddeley, who entered the week 27th in points but currently projects to third. "So for me, I just want to try and win the TOUR Championship, which is a great event, a prestigious event, and then try and impress Greg in the process."

Earlier this week, Baddeley spoke briefly with Norman, who told him he would be closing watching both Baddeley and fellow Australian John Senden, last week's runner-up of the BMW Championship

While Baddeley shares a spot atop the leaderboard, Senden is 12 strokes behind and tied for 24th.

"He said just go out, play good, win the golf tournament," Baddeley said of his conversation with Norman. "I said, all right."

Baddeley was more than all right on the greens Saturday. He rolled in four birdie putts between 21 and 36 feet, and also had a par-saving putt from outside 10 feet. He gained more than five strokes on the field just on the greens, and he leads the field this week in Strokes Gained-Putting.

“In recent months, I haven’t holed that many putts,” Baddeley said, “so it was nice to be able to make some putts.”

Baddeley said he worked on his right-hand grip this week, and when he takes a practice stroke, he's using only his right hand.

"It's just getting the club in the right position with my right hand, and that allows me to be able to release it, release the putter head," Baddeley explained.

Whether his performance this week will be enough to convince Norman to choose him, Baddeley won't know until Tuesday. But a win on Sunday will be hard to ignore.

"Definitely Greg is looking out for form players," he said. "So far I think I've had a nice year, but it would be nice to cap it off this week, and hopefully that'll be enough for the pick."

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