Baddeley prevails to win at Riviera

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Associated Press
Monday, February 21, 2011
— Aaron Baddeley returned to his old swing and a title he hadn’t seen in four years—a PGA Tour winner.

In a battle of generations Sunday at Riviera, the 29-year-old Baddeley played mistake-free over the final six holes to hold off Vijay Singh and deny a fairy-tale finish for 51-year-old Fred Couples.

Baddeley closed with a 2-under 69 for a one-shot victory over Singh, who turns 48 on Tuesday.

It was the third career PGA Tour win for Baddeley, whose game had slipped so much that he had plunged to No. 224 in the world. This isn’t enough to get back into the top 50, but at least he can book a trip to Augusta National in April for the Masters.

Singh, who only three weeks ago had fallen out of the top 100 in the world for the first time in more than 21 years, had his highest finish since he won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2008 on his way to the FedEx Cup. Despite back-to-back bogeys on the back nine, he gave himself a chance to the end and closed with a 69.

Singh said it was the best week with the putter in his career, which would include his 2000 Masters victory. He took only 105 putts for the week, including just one three-putt in the second round.

“That’s a great, great thing to have when you’re putting well,” Singh said. “I haven’t done that for a long, long time.”

The heartache, though, belonged to Couples.

Two decades after he last won at Riviera, Couples ran off three straight birdies to start his round and take the lead, revving up the Riviera gallery. But it all came crashing down with a double bogey on the seventh hole—where Baddeley made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe—and Couples never could catch up again.

Couples bogeyed two of the last three holes for a 73 and wound up in a tie for seventh.

Kevin Na had a 71 that put him alone in third.

Couples was trying to become the oldest PGA Tour winner in 35 years.

Edgerton native Steve Stricker had a final-round 72 to finish at 2-under 282.

Last updated: 4:15 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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