Date: August 09, 2008

Baddeley poised to strike

Aussie Aaron Baddeley is three shots off the pace at the halfway stage of the US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills after hitting a one-over-par second round of 71. Baddeley, who also recorded a 71 on the first day, is in a tie for seventh position on two-over-par with six other golfers including Angel Cabrera and Sergio Garcia. American JB Holmes grabbed the overnight lead of the year&aposs final major with a round of 68 and is now one-under for the tournament. Baddeley, who started the day equal 16th, began in ideal fashion with an eagle at the 2nd hole and a birdie at the 5th taking him to two-under overall but bogeys at No.6, 8, 10 and 16 ensured he would replicate his first-round effort. “In the end I was pleased because it was so difficult out there,” said Baddeley. “It was nice to get ahead of the ball game early. I had a couple chances on the back nine which would have been nice to convert, like on number 11 or 13, but it was hard this afternoon, so overall, I&aposm pleased.” Baddeley&aposs compatriot Steve Elkington is in a share of 21st spot on four-over alongside Kiwi Michael Campbell. Meanwhile, Englishman Justin Rose was ecstatic with his day&aposs work after moving into contention. England&aposs Ryder Cup hopeful – currently occupying the 10th and final automatic qualifying spot on the points lists – carded a three-over-par, opening-round 73 but got the bit between his teeth during his early start to round two. Rose shot four birdies and a bogey for a second-round 67 to move to even par for the tournament. American Ben Curtis also improved on an opening 73 with a 67 – and those two were joined by Korean-born American Charlie Wi, who posted a second consecutive level-par 70. A shot further back on one-over are David Toms, the 2001 PGA champion who carded a 69, and Sweden&aposs Henrik Stenson – thanks to a 70. Rose was as delighted with his scoring as he was to have finished his round early in the day, with the breeze stiffening. “I&aposm ecstatic with that round of golf,” he said. “Three-under-par in those conditions was more than I could have hoped for. I know Ben Curtis shot three-under too – but the average score today is going to be very, very high.” “Guys are going to have a hard time this afternoon, so I&aposm glad to be done.” First round co-leaders Robert Karlsson and India&aposs Jeev Milkha Singh both started later in the day – with the Swede struggling badly to a 77 that leaves him at five-over heading into the weekend. Singh, though, remains in contention following a four-over 74 – two-over for the tournament. Garcia failed to build on his opening 69, shooting a three-over 73 – a double bogey at the 17th sending him to two-over par for the week. Ian Poulter, attempting to overtake Rose in the Ryder Cup standings, was one-over-par for his second round – having opened with a three-over 74. He was angered by the course set-up and three particularly long par-three holes of 198, 238 and 257 yards – which the PGA of America had shortened for the second round to 197, 217 and another 217, citing wind conditions and hole locations. PGA officials also cut 87 yards from the par-four sixth hole overnight, but none of that made a difference to Poulter. “I drove it a little better and had more shots from the fairway, which makes it a little easier, but you are just trying not to bleed to death out there,” he said. “It&aposs just like the PGA slice your throat on the first tee, and you have to try and make it round to the 18th without dying.” “I wish I was a couple better yesterday, putted really well today with two putts for distance. So it is okay but it is just frustrating when you stand on par threes and you are hitting five iron and aiming for a greenside bunker, because you know that is the only way you can make par.” “That&aposs pretty sad. I am very disappointed we are having to do that on such a great golf course just because of the infatuation of having to put 30 yards on par threes when they think we are hitting irons 30 yards past where we used to.” “We might hit our drives 30 yards further but are certainly not hitting our irons – so why should we be aiming for bunkers to try and make par? That personally is not right, is not on; it&aposs unacceptable.” Open champion Padraig Harrington will start the third round at five-over for the tournament after a four-over 74 – while Colin Montgomerie had a second round to forget, posting an 84 and equalling his worst round in a major. “That&aposs the most difficult day since my poor score at Muirfield in 2002 – but the conditions added to that one,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was a reasonably good day today.” “It&aposs just very, very severe.” Australian Stuart Appleby is tied for 35th position on six-over along with New Zealander Mark Brown while Geoff Ogilvy (seven-over), John Senden (eight-over), Robert Allenby (eight-over), Peter Lonard (eight-over) and Richard Green (eight-over) all survived the cut. Second Round of The US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (Par 70): -1: J.B. Holmes 71 68 E: Charlie Wi 70 70, Ben Curtis 73 67, Justin Rose 73 67 +1: David Toms 72 69, Henrik Stenson 71 70 +2: Angel Cabrera 70 72, Brandt Snedeker 71 71, Jeev Milkha Singh 68 74, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 71 71, Ken Duke 69 73, Sergio Garcia 69 73, Sean O Hair 69 73 +3: Nicholas Thompson 71 72, Briny Baird 71 72, Paul Goydos 74 69, D.J.Trahan 72 71, Boo Weekley 72 71, Phil Mickelson 70 73, Steve Flesch 73 70 Also: +4: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 73 71, Steve Elkington (Australia) 71 73 +6: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 76 70, Mark Brown (New Zealand) 77 69 +7: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 73 74 +8: John Senden (Australia) 76 72, Robert Allenby (Australia) 76 72, Peter Lonard (Australia) 74 74, Richard Green (Australia) 71 77 +9: Brendan Jones (Australia) 71 78 +10: Adam Scott (Australia) 77 73, Nick O Hern (Australia) 74 76 +11: Scott Strange (Australia) 73 78, Rod Pampling (Australia) 70 81 +16: Matthew Goggin (Australia) 81 75