Date: November 20, 2007
Author: Bren O'Brien

Badds eyes surge into top 10

Aaron Baddeley has revealed he has three major aims for 2008, including claiming a spot among the top ten in the world for the first time. Baddeley, the one-time wunderkind of Australian golf, has made considerable progress over the past two years, winning the Verizon Heritage event in 2006 and the FBR Open earlier this year. Those successes plus seven top-ten finishes on the US Tour in 2007 have seen him move up to world No.18, up a stunning 150 positions from where he was at the start of 2006. But the 27-year-old has always been his own toughest marker, and has no intention of resting on his achievements of the past 24 months. “This year was a great year, I achieved a lot of things that I set for myself. Next year I&aposd like to have a chance going into the last round of the Fed Ex Cup. I&aposd like to win twice on the US Tour. And I&aposd like to move into the top 10 in the world. They would be my main goal for next year,” he said. Baddeley has always been renowned as one of the best putters going around, and he was ranked fourth in Putts Per Round for the 2007 US Tour. He believes his improvement will come from his long irons, and if he can hit the greens more regularly, then he will make that jump into the top 10. “My stats did not show a whole lot of improvement but my ball striking improved a lot. I would like to improve my greens in regulation, even if it means being just off the green by a yard or so. That counts as a missed green and means a birdie putt I am not having. If I can manage a few more greens in regulation per round, that is going to be the main key,” he said. The stats certainly bear that out. Of all the major measures of a golfers&apos performance on the US Tour, he fared worst in GIRs, averaging just over 60 per cent to be 188th. “I&aposd like to average between 60 and 65 per cent next year. I think that is a good goal. Then I&aposd like to move it up even more. If I could be inside the top 50 for greens in regulation that would be a big step towards achieving my goals,” he said. Based on 2007, to get into the top 50 on GIRs he would need a percentage of over 66 per cent. But given how far he has come in terms of his world ranking and his standing among his competitors on the world&aposs toughest tour, you would be foolish to doubt he could make that improvement. Step one on that journey is this week&aposs MasterCard Masters at Huntingdale, where precise play onto the fast greens is vital for competitive scores. “I feel pretty good. I feel comfortable,” he said. “I had a nice practice round today. I hit the ball pretty well in the wind. I&aposm looking forward to playing on this course. I always enjoy coming back to Huntingdale.”