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Baddeley chasing PGA victory at Bay Hill

Australia's Aaron Baddeley will start the final round of the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational just two shots off the lead.

Baddeley chasing PGA victory at Bay Hill

Australia's Aaron Baddeley will start the final round of the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational just two shots off the lead.

AARON BADDELEY of Australia plays his shot during the of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course in San Antonio, Texas.
AARON BADDELEY of Australia plays his shot during the of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course in San Antonio, Texas. Picture:Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Aaron Baddeley will be guided by the 71-year-old caddie who helped deliver Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch's maiden British Open titles as he attempts to end a near three-year winless drought on the PGA Tour at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Baddeley recently reunited with Pete Bender who, in 50 seasons carrying clubs on the PGA Tour, has caddied for golf greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and Norman.


The 37-year-old Baddeley employed the veteran caddie between 2005 and 2008 before Bender was diagnosed with throat cancer.

But he is on Baddeley's bag at Bay Hill and the Victorian will enter the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational just two shots from the lead.

Baddeley rattled off four back-nine birdies on day three of the tournament in Florida to post a three-under-par 69 and a seven-under total.

Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick took the 54-hole lead with a 67 and at nine under he leads defending champion Rory McIlroy (66) by one shot.

Four-time major winner McIlroy and Fitzpatrick will play in the final group, while Baddeley and Englishman Matt Wallace (69) are the penultimate pair, in a share of third with Kevin Kisner (70).

Baddeley's last win came at the Barbasol Championship in July 2016 but he has a chance to secure the fifth win of his PGA Tour career at the prestigious $US9.1 million ($A12.9m) Palmer event.

The two-time Australian Open champion has rediscovered his world-class putting, having shared second place at the recent Puerto Rico Open.

Baddeley was visibly excited at having the final-round expertise of Bender, who was on the bag for Norman's breakthrough Open victory in 1986 and Baker-Finch's triumph at the 1991 Open.

"It's great to have him back; he's an amazing caddie," Baddeley told AAP.

Baddeley's stunning hole-out for birdie from a greenside bunker at the par-3 14th was among a series of miraculous sand saves that kept Baddeley in contention.

He bagged birdies from bunkers at the par-5 12th and 16th holes, while he saved par from the greenside traps at holes 15 and 17.

Baddeley is an astonishing 14 from 15 in sand saves this week.

"Yeah, I brought a big shovel today," Baddeley said.

"These bunkers here have great sand and I feel really comfortable in them."

Marc Leishman is the only other Australian in the field and an even-par 72 on Saturday left the 2017 Bay Hill winner at two under.

AAP


AAP




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