Date: June 17, 2007

Baddeley to maintain focus

Australia&aposs Aaron Baddeley has promised he won&apost be overawed by the occasion as he goes into the final round of the US Open at Oakmont with a two-shot lead over world No.1 Tiger Woods. Baddeley has vowed to embrace the moment as he attempts to hold off Woods, and several other prominent players including 2003 champion Jim Furyk and MasterCard Masters winner Justin Rose over the final 18 holes of what has been described as the toughest golf course in the world. “I&aposve just got the play my game, that&aposs the key,” he said after his third round. “I can&apost control what Tiger, or Jim Furyk or Justin Rose might do. And they can&apost control what I do. That&aposs the beauty of golf, it&aposs not like tennis where you can force onto your opponent I can go out there and worry about my golf ball, hitting my golf shots, that&aposs what I&aposm gonna do tomorrow.” Baddeley will be paired with Woods in what may prove an intimidating final pairing for the world No. 24. But the 26-year-old said he enjoys the company of the 12-time major winner, and he will be glad to have his biggest threat for the title playing alongside him. “I like playing with Tiger, because Tiger is a great person to play with. He&aposs very complimentary when you hit a good shot he&aposll say &aposgood shot&apos. Obviously he&aposs a great player and he loves competition,” he said. “I&aposm very comfortable playing with Tiger in a major. When I see that pairing I&aposm always pleased &aposcos he&aposs the best player in the world and I like playing with the best players in the world, I always have done.” One of Baddeley&aposs strengths is ability to hold his nerve under pressure. He won the Australian Open as an amateur and returned the next year to defend his title. In 2001, he edged out Sergio Garcia in a playoff to win the co-sanctioned Greg Norman International. All of these victories came as a teenager. Since then, he has endured somewhat of a rollercoaster. With the weight of public expectations on his shoulders, he has matured enormously as a golfer. It is that maturity which the Victorian says will hold him in good stead down the stretch at Oakmont on Sunday. “It&aposs exciting you know. It&aposs what I thought I could do when I came here. When I came here I felt my game was nice, so I felt like I could compete this week. Tomorrow, well obviously I&aposm gonna deal with some emotions, because I&aposve never been in this position but I&aposve played golf, I&aposve worked my whole life to be in this position. I&aposm gonna embrace it and I&aposm gonna enjoy it, and I feel if I play well and play my game, there&aposs a good chance that coming down the last hole I&aposll have the lead.” And Baddeley revealed that he will use the advice of legend Jack Nicklaus to help him steady his nerves and play intelligent golf on the final day. “I was really keen to talk to Jack, cos obviously he&aposs the best player that&aposs ever played the game. And everyone talked about how well he talked around the golf course and that was the reason he won so many tournaments.” “I just talked about how he prepared for tournaments and majors and how he thought his way around the golf course He was great, I was amazed, he was like &aposask me more, ask me more&apos. He&aposd say go out and try it, and if there&aposs something else you want to talk about, give me a call no problems I&aposll take something from what he said into tomorrow, absolutely.”