Baddeley regains a winning feeling at Riviera

Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:21pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Three years after winning his most recent PGA Tour title at Riviera Country Club, Aaron Baddeley flourished at the same venue as he charged into contention for the Northern Trust Open on Friday.

In ideal scoring conditions under sunny skies, the Australian birdied the last four holes on the fabled layout that winds its way through the Santa Monica Canyon to card a six-under-par 65 in the second round.

Baddeley, who has not triumphed anywhere since clinching the 2011 Northern Trust Open by two shots, totaled eight birdies and two bogeys for an eight-under aggregate of 134 to sit just one stroke off the early lead.

"To birdie the last four was extra special," an elated Baddeley, who ended his round by sinking a 25-foot putt on the 18th green, told reporters.

"I'm excited, definitely excited to finish like that and just to have a chance to win here is great.

"It's coming along," he said of his overall form. "Had a couple of good saves early and just coming down the last few holes, I played nicely, so the game is starting to feel good and so is the putter."

Baddeley's 2011 victory at Riviera, where he fended off a fast start by crowd favorite Fred Couples on the last day and a mid-round charge by Vijay Singh, ended a four-year title drought on the PGA Tour.

SHOT SELECTION   Continued...

Australia's Aaron Baddeley watches his shot on the first fairway during a practice round for the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger