Date: September 09, 2007

Badds, Stricker in driver’s seat

Australian Aaron Baddeley and American Steve Stricker both birdied the final hole to share the lead on 15-under-par after the third round of the BMW Championship on Saturday. Stricker continued his recent fine form with a flawless seven-under-par round of 64 in benign conditions at Cog Hill, while Baddeley fired a 65 to head the field with Tiger Woods a stroke behind. The world No.1, who also shot a 65, held the lead for most of the back nine only for Stricker and Baddeley&aposs birdies at the 18th to see him end the day in third. Baddeley was happy to finish with two consecutive birdies. “I had no idea where I was on the leaderboard,” he said. “All I knew was I wanted to finish birdie, birdie.” The highlight of Stricker&aposs round was an eagle on the par-four eighth as he holed a wedge from 112 yards. “That&aposs as loud a roar I&aposve heard for a shot of mine for a long time,” he said. Woods, who has won three times at Cog Hill, was happy enough with his third-round effort but felt he could have shot an even lower score had his putter been more accurate. “That&aposs probably the highest score I could have shot,” he said. “If I&aposd made a few putts, it really could have been a deep round. I was really hitting it pretty good but I left a few putts right on the edge.” Justin Rose recovered from a poor start to birdie the final two holes and card a round of 69 but the Englishman still ended the day five strokes off the pace in fourth place on 10 under par. “I wasn&apost playing terribly but I felt my posture got a little slack,” he said “I bumped up my posture after I hit my 11th tee shot and from then on I hit a few better tee shots. “On a day like today, when you needed to be in the fairway to make birdies, it was a little frustrating starting out. “And the way Steve (Stricker) was playing, it felt even worse – but I&aposm happy with the way I finished.” Stricker and Woods are second and third respectively on the FedEx Cup points list. If they finish first and second on Sunday, in any order, both will go ahead of leader Phil Mickelson, who has taken the week off, heading into next week&aposs Tour Championship – the final event of the four-tournament play-off series. Third Round of the BMW Championship (par 71) -15 Steve Stricker 68 66 64, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 68 65 65 -14 Tiger Woods 67 67 65 -10 Justin Rose 65 69 69 -9 Tim Clark 68 69 67, Jonathan Byrd 64 69 71 -8 Adam Scott (Australia) 69 69 67, Nathan Green (Australia) 67 71 67, Pat Perez 66 69 70, Camilo Villegas 65 69 71 -7 Brandt Snedeker 70 71 65, Jim Furyk 70 69 67 -6 Stewart Cink 66 73 68, Ryan Moore 69 70 68, Sergio Garcia 68 70 69, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 68 68 71 Also: -2 Rod Pampling (Australia) 73 72 66 -1 Robert Allenby (Australia) 75 68 69 +4 John Senden (Australia) 71 75 71, Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 70 73 74 +6 Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 78 73 68