PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA | Aaron
Baddeley has joined a growing but significant
list: those in their 20s who have at least three
victories on the PGA Tour. Baddeley, from Australia, notched his third with a two-shot victory
at the Northern Trust Open on Sunday.
Baddeley, 29, who had not won since the 2007
Waste Management Phoenix Open, reunited with
his old swing teacher, Dale Lynch, to retool his
action. The result was victory at famed Riviera
Country Club just outside Los Angeles.
A 2-under 69 in the final round was enough
for Baddeley to win, which gave him a 72-hole
total of 272, 12-under par, two ahead of Vijay
Singh, who crept atop the leaderboard with a
final-round 69 of his own.
Baddeley took a one-shot lead into Sunday’s round by virtue of rounds 67-69-67, good
for 10 under and an edge over Fred Couples
and Kevin Na.
Couples, 51, was the story for most of the
week, leading after 36 holes at 68-66, 9 under. And Couples, the crowd favorite who plies
much of his trade now on the Champions Tour,
started the final round with three straight birdies and took a one-shot lead over Baddeley.
But the Couples train derailed with a
bogey at the par- 3 sixth and a double-bogey at
the par- 4 seventh. In the meantime, Baddeley
made birdie at the seventh and Couples found
himself five shots in arrears.
Baddeley allowed the field to come back
to him temporarily with a double-bogey at the
par- 4 12th, and Couples’ birdie at the 11th put
him behind by two. But Baddeley followed the
mishap with a birdie at the 13th to put him at 12
under, a lead he would hang onto comfortably.
After a four-year break, Aaron
Baddeley is a winner again.
Couples dropped from contention with a
bogey from a plugged bunker lie at the par- 3
16th and followed that with another bogey at
the 18th to finish tied for seventh at 7 under.
Couples shot 2-over 73 on Sunday.
Singh got as low as 11 under, but bogeys
at 12 and 13 put him too far back to catch the
leader. Na, who fell out of the running early,
came back with two back-nine birdies for an
even-par 71 and third place on his own at 9-
Jimmy Walker joined Robert Allenby and
Ryan Moore in a tie for fourth at 8 under. Walker
and Allenby shot 68 on Sunday, while Moore
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