Date: January 25, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Baddeley hits form

Aaron Baddeley has stormed up the leaderboard in the third round of the Qatar masters with a five-under-par 67. Baddeley began the day in a tie for 16th, but immediately signalled his intentions with birdies on the first two holes. His performance on the back nine was just as impressive where he reeled off four birdies, the only blight on his scorecard was a double bogie on the 15th. Baddeley sits seven shots off the pace set by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros who was brilliant on the third day with an eight-under-par 64. Brett Rumford dropped off the pace with a one-over-par 73 that meant the Australian slid from third spot to a tie for 17th and nine shots off the pace. Rod Pampling and Adam Scott shot 74 and 72 respectively while Scott Strange struggled to two-over-par 74. Quiros is renowned for his big-hitting but was pleased to show a deft touch on the greens in his eight-under-par round, which helped propel October&aposs Portugal Masters champion to 16 under for the tournament – a shot clear of second-round leader Louis Oosthuizen. In-form South African Oosthuizen set the standard yesterday with a flawless 65 and remains in the hunt for a maiden European Tour title. He battled to a 69 despite a disastrous four-putt on the fifth green which saw him ship a double-bogey six. It was also not plain sailing for Quiros who after charging to the top of the leaderboard with five birdies in eight holes fortunately avoided a one-stroke penalty on the ninth fairway despite sending a wayward drive up a tree. Quiros&apos luck escaped him in Abu Dhabi last week but after yesterday watching an attempted lay-up rebound off a rock and back onto the fairway, today he was handed a free drop instead of the usual one-shot penalty as the tree was staked. He almost took full advantage of the break as he left a birdie putt on the edge of the hole, despite hacking his second shot onto a cart path. “It&aposs been my lucky week,” said the beaming Spaniard. “I can&apost remember the last time I won, but I hope it&aposs going to be a new day, and with a bit of luck I will be fighting for the trophy. But this is golf and you have to wait until it&aposs your week.” “Last year I was hitting the ball well and the scores never arrived except the last four months of the year.” “I made silly mistakes on the course yesterday but it was good and today was just a great day of putting. I missed two or three short putts but I made two or three long ones.” Despite seeing a three-shot second-round lead eliminated, Oosthuizen remained upbeat despite his &aposup and down&apos day which included five birdies. After making a late charge to finish a narrow second in Abu Dhabi last week, he is perfectly placed to add a European Tour title to the five tournaments he has won in South Africa. “I think one behind is a good spot. If you are three or four ahead everyone is really thinking you have to win. One behind is a nice spot to put myself in with 18 holes left,” he said. “Alvaro shot an unbelievable round. It will be nice playing with him. It will be the two of us head-to-head.” Holland&aposs Maarten Lafeber and 2006 Qatar champion Henrik Stenson sit well placed at 12 under after recording matching 66s, while inaugural Qatar champion Andrew Coltart finished strongly with two birdies in three holes to card a 70 and lie just a shot further back. Stenson fell victim to Adam Scott&aposs course record of 61 last year which handed the Australian the title and relegated the Swede to runner-up, and he knows it will need to be his turn tomorrow to halt Quiros. “Yesterday was a struggle but the first day was okay and today was the best I&aposve played all week. I am definitely making a big step in the right direction,” said Stenson. “Anything can happen on the last day and if I shoot a good score I might have an outside chance.” “But it&aposs going to take one of Adam Scott&aposs rounds to threaten Alvaro. But Adam did it to me last year so hopefully I can return the favour to somebody else this year.”