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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 282
BADDS BREAKS THROUGH Y OU’D be hard-pressed to suggest Aaron Baddeley wasn’t amongst the most talented up-and-comers in the world when he joined the PGA Tour full time in 2003. Baddeley wasted no time announcing himself to the Tour. The Victorian bolted out of the gates and appeared primed to win his very first event of the season (The Sony Open). But he was denied in a playoff by some Ernie Els magic. Thirteen months later, Baddeley came close to entering the winner’s circle once again – this time at the 2004 Chrysler Classic where he was beaten by Heath Slocum and the narrowest of margins. Fast forward another two years and Baddeley had accumulated an impressive nine top-10 finishes. But he was still yet to break his maiden status. This all changed, however, by the time he left Harbour Town Golf Links and the 2006 Verizon Heritage. Baddeley, who was 25 years old at the time, played alongside – and managed to hold off – Tour legend Jim Furyk, winning by one shot after holing a clutch seven-footer. “Actually, I don’t remember making the (winning) putt at all,” Baddeley recalls. “It felt like I blacked out, I was just so into it, it was pretty awesome. “I knew it was going to be a tough day. Jim (Furyk) is such a competitor, such a gentleman, he really is. And we played in great spirits. I knew Jim wasn’t going anywhere. I knew he wasn’t going to lose the tournament.” Baddeley, who remains a devoted Christian, paid tribute to God for helping him get through each of the four days – and said he felt relieved after finally breaking through. “It’s a win, it’s a relief, but it’s a dream.” 2006 THIS WEEK IN ... • The Melbourne Cricket Ground, which was the host venue of the Commonwealth Games, prepares to reopen and welcome the AFL. • Nineteen Australian Federal Police officers are injured in the Solomon Islands after the nation’s capital, Honiara, erupts into rioting. • Former rugby league player, Jimmy Sharman Jr – who inherited his father’s famous boxing troupe – dies aged 94. • More than 200 people are injured in pro-democracy protests in Nepal after Nepali security forces open fire on protesters against King Gyanendra. ALSO MAKING NEWS THIS WEEK IN 2006 WATCH: OUTSIDE THE ROPES WITH AARON BADDELEY WORDS BY MICHAEL JONES
GA Express 281
GA Express 283