Date: February 06, 2009

Baddeley off to flyer

Aaron Baddeley has made an impressive start to the Buick Invitational to be in a tie for second place after the opening round in San Diego. The Australian shot three birdies in his last four holes on his way to a six-under-par 66 to be level with Davis Love III. The pair is three shots behind leader Camilo Villegas, who carved up the Torrey Pines course with eight birdies, an eagle and just one bogey to card a nine-under 63. “It was a pretty fun day. I had two chip-ins, that helps. I had one on number two for eagle and then a nice one on 17 to finish the round. But even if you take the chip-ins out, I played pretty good,” said Villegas. “I drove it nicely. I hit some great shots and left myself some good opportunities. It&aposs not easy to have a good short game on that golf course today. The greens are bumpy, and you&aposve just got to be really committed to your line, and that&aposs exactly what I did today.” It was a good opening round for the Australian contingent with Stuart Appleby sitting in equal fourth place after posting a 68, while Mathew Goggin and Jason Day are a further stoke back in a tie for seventh. Matt Jones and Nathan Green made it six Aussies in the top 20 after they both shot two-under-par rounds of 70. Jarrod Lyle is at one-under, while Steve Allan, Rod Pampling and Aron Price all carded even-par rounds. Greg Chalmers (+1), Marc Leishman (+2), John Senden (+4) and Peter Lonard (+6) will have to improve if they are to make the cut. But rookie James Nitties, backing up after his superb fourth place finish last week, never got going, carding six bogeys and a double-bogey on his way to a disappointing seven-over 79. Reigning Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington was at three-under at the turn until carding a bogey and double-bogey on his back nine before a birdie at the last returned the Irishman to one-under. Harrington began his year with a fifth place finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship before having two non-malignant melanomas removed from near his right eye less than two weeks ago.