Aaron Baddeley wanted to make a good impression on Greg Norman with hopes of being picked for the Presidents Cup.
He wound up impressing a lot of people yesterday at the Tour Championship at Atlanta.
Baddeley holed out for eagle on No. 4, then lit up East Lake’s back nine with four straight birdies on his way to a 6-under-par 64 that put him atop the leaderboard with Hunter Mahan.
Mahan holed a birdie putt just more than 20 feet on the par-3 18th for a 66.
They were at 9-under 201, both poised to capture a meaningful cup - even if it isn’t the same one.
Mahan is No. 21 in the
Of the top five players in the standings, however, only Luke Donald remains in serious contention, and Mahan learned when he finished his round that he was projected to win golf’s richest prize.
“I honestly didn’t think that was a possibility,’’ Mahan said.
The Tour Championship suddenly is loaded with possibilities.
Jason Day recovered from a ragged start and had a 69, leaving him only two shots back. He was tied with K.J. Choi, who also started poorly and shot 70.
Donald, the world No. 1, had a 70 and was only three behind.
Ten players were separated by five shots - the margin by which Baddeley trailed going into the third round - and the group includes Phil Mickelson, who won this event two years ago. He had a 67 and was four shots behind.
Even if Baddeley wins today, he might not win the FedEx Cup. Baddeley, 27th on the points list entering the Tour Championship, needs help to win the $10 million. Baddeley’s main concern is the Presidents Cup.
He grew up in Melbourne and desperately wants to be part of his first team at Royal Melbourne. He is one of three Australians - Robert Allenby and John Senden are the others - under consideration for two of Norman’s picks, which will be announced Tuesday.
Webb Simpson is No. 1 on the FedEx Cup list, and he finished with a birdie on 18 to get into a tie for 15th. If he were to finish in the top 12, he could still claim the $10 million even if Mahan wins the Tour Championship.
Solheim Cup - The United States staged a dramatic rally to win the afternoon fourball session, 3-1, to tie Europe, 8-8, at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Ireland.
The Americans rallied to win the last three matches, leaving the sides tied heading into the 12 singles matches today. The US is trying to win its fourth consecutive Solheim Cup.
Europe won the morning foursomes to extend its lead to 7-5.
Laura Davies became the all-time Solheim Cup points leader at 24 1/2 when she teamed up with Melissa Reid to beat Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie, 4 and 3, to put Europe ahead, 8-5,
US rookie Stacy Lewis earned her first point when she teamed with fellow first-timer Ryann O’Toole to beat Sandra Gal and Christel Boeljon, 2 and 1. O’Toole was regarded as a wild card but has registered 2 1/2 points.
Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr reduced the lead to 8-7 when they beat Europe’s top player, Suzann Pettersen, and impressive rookie Caroline Hedwall by one hole.
Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome completed the comeback when they rallied from one down at the turn to defeat Maria Hjorth and Azahara Munoz, 3 and 1.
“Those last 3 points were huge for us,’’ said Creamer, who has won 3 1/2 points.
European - Thomas Norret shot a 2-under 70 to take a two-stroke lead into the final day of the Austrian Open at Atzenbrugg.