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Weather doesn't bother Baddeley

Aaron Baddeley, who hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2007, has a one-stroke lead after Round 3 at the Northern Trust Open.

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Aaron Baddeley, who hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2007, has a one-stroke lead after Round 3 at the Northern Trust Open.

LOS ANGELES — Aaron Baddeley played 22 holes Saturday in just about every kind of weather, and it hardly mattered. He hit just about every shot where he was aiming and wound up with a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open.

In finishing a round suspended by darkness, Baddeley birdied the 18th in the chill of the morning for 69. He then ran off three straight birdies around the turn just as the afternoon rain arrived. That led to 4-under 67, giving him a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour for the first time in five years. He was at 10-under 203.

Fred Couples and his 51-year-old aching back managed well enough in the cold and rain. Couples made only one blunder, when he chipped too strong off the back of the 10th green for his lone bogey.

"I was thinking, 'What am I going to shoot on the back nine, 40?' " Couples said. "You start playing like those guys did yesterday in that weather, anything would have happened."

Something did. The rain stopped, and Couples played the rest of the way in 1-under par, tied for second at 204 and keeping alive his hopes of becoming the oldest PGA Tour winner in more than 35 years.

Kevin Na, who grew up nearby and first came to Riviera as an 11-year-old in 1995, plodded along to 67 and also was one back.

Vijay Singh turns 48 Tuesday and is starting to play much younger. In the worst slump of his career, Singh felt like the world's best putter in the third round as he turned in 67 and was two shots behind.

Singh last won in 2008 at the Deutsche Bank Championship on his way to the FedEx Cup title.

Baddeley's last victory was in 2007 at the Phoenix Open. Later that year, he had a two-shot lead going into the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont, only to close with 80. His game was in such disarray that he has plunged to No. 224 in the world ranking.

He is back with his old swing coach and starting to see results.

"I'm excited to test out the new action, and I feel good. I feel like it's going to be fun (today)," Baddeley said.

Baddeley was among those who went to the "Stack and Tilt" method taught by Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, then decided to go back to his Australian coach, Dale Lynch.

LPGA: Yani Tseng shot 2-under 70 for a one-shot lead after the third round at the LPGA Thailand in Pattaya. She's trying for her third victory in three weeks. A 4-foot eagle putt on her finishing hole gave her 9-under 207, one better than Michelle Wie (71) and second-round leader I.K. Kim (72). Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (76) was 3 over. Tseng became the world No. 1 when she won the Australian Open by seven, then the Australian Ladies Masters by four last weekend.

Champions: Bernhard Langer shot 6-under 66 and led the ACE Group Classic in Naples by four strokes heading into the final round. Langer matched the tournament's 36-hole record at 14-under 130. Mark O'Meara, Russ Cochran, Fred Funk and Mark Calcavecchia were tied for second. Langer, 53, has failed to win only once in 10 tournaments in which he either shared or was in the lead after two rounds.

Weather doesn't bother Baddeley 02/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 19, 2011 9:44pm]
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