Date: December 11, 2007
Author: Steve Orme

Baddeley eyes Open glory

by Steve Orme, Sportal Two-time winner Aaron Baddeley has reaffirmed his personal quest to eclipse golfing immortal Gary Player&aposs imposing mark of seven Australian Open titles. Baddeley, fresh from his maiden Australian Masters triumph last month, will once again start the week as the favourite, as he looks to add to his already burgeoning collection of titles won on home-soil. “This is definitely an event I focus on because I&aposve made it known that I want to beat Gary Player&aposs record of seven, so I&aposve got to get eight Australian Opens,” Baddeley explained. “So I really focus on this one because it&aposs our national championship which is always special but then it would be nice to get a few Australian Opens early so then it gives me a little easier (task) for the next 20 years.” But while the 26-year-old, by his own admission, continues to grow in confidence with each homecoming the combination of a world-class field and a challenging layout at The Australian will make for a tough assignment. Asked if he considered himself the favourite two-days-out from the opening round Baddeley pondered: “I don&apost know. I think there&aposs probably quite a few favourites,” he said. “Geoff (Ogilvy) played great at Sun City (in South Africa a fortnight ago), Pete (Lonard) is playing great – it&aposs pretty hard to pick a favourite because a lot of the Aussies are really playing well.” “It&aposs nice to be favourite. I was favourite at Huntingdale, so hopefully (I can achieve) the same result.” Asked the key to tackling the challenging Australian GC layout Baddeley said solid ball striking would be at a premium. “Some of the greens are tough with their hole locations and if it&aposs windy you&aposre going to have to control your ball flight and the rough is a little bit longer than usual because of the rains that we&aposve had up here,” he said. “You&aposve got to hit the fairways and you&aposve got to be able hit the right shot into the greens.” Quizzed on a projected winning total at the end of four rounds, the world No.18 said he expects the course to more than hold its own. “If you give the greens a medium firmness and it&aposs windy like this if you&aposre at double-digits (under par) you&aposre looking pretty good,” Baddeley said.