February 18 2012
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- All of a sudden, defending champion Aaron Baddeley has put himself in contention again.
The Aussie, who started the third round at even par, birdied his final three holes on Saturday for a 66 that puts him at 5 under for the tournament. He's one shot behind Phil Mickelson, who has played 10 holes, and tied right now with Dustin Johnson, Bryce Molder, Zack Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Jonathan Byrd -- all of whom are still on the course.
Baddeley closed with a roller-coaster of a 32 on the back nine that included five birdies, one bogey and just three pars. The bogey came when Baddeley couldn't get up-and-down from the greenside bunker at No. 15. He responded by draining a 33-footer at the next hole, lobbing his third shot on the par-5 17th to 13 inches and made a final putt from 3 feet at the 18th.
Baddeley's birdie at the 18th hole was just the fifth of the day.