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April 15, 2006

Aaron Baddeley


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Aaron Baddeley to the interview area with a 5-under par 66, tied for the lead after 54 holes. As people know at the PGA Tour, the AstraZeneca Charity Challenge recognizes and awards the tournament leaders entering the final round in 35 PGA TOUR events at each of the selected events 100 thousand dollar contribution will be made and this week AstraZeneca donates 50 thousand dollars to the American College of Rheumatology on behalf of the Verizon Heritage and 50 thousand dollars to the Physician Assistant Foundation on behalf of Aaron Baddeley and Jim Furyk. And we welcome you, Aaron, to the interview area. Just talk a little bit about your day today and your spot now going into Sunday.

AARON BADDELEY: It was a tough day today. The wind was really blowing today and it was hard to gauge exactly which way the wind was coming from. It wasn't always easy to pull the right club or hit the right shot.

It was a good day, I hung in there. I didn't hit every green, but when I missed it I got up-and-down and hit a lot of good shots. I drove the ball really well, which I'm really happy with.

Q. After a while, maybe even on the back nine, did it sort of become match play between you and Jim out there? You kind of separated yourself from everybody else?

AARON BADDELEY: I actually made a point not to look at the leaderboard. So I think I glanced at it on 9, but I didn't know if someone was right there with us or anything. I was just trying to play my game. And obviously Jim was playing well, also, so we were sort of feeding off each other a little bit, maybe.

Q. How much are you looking forward to this last day, tomorrow?

AARON BADDELEY: I'm definitely looking forward to it. My game -- I'm very confident. I'm hitting the ball very nicely. I'm putting very well. I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be a fun day, just do what I can and hope it's a low score.

Q. How often have you been in the final group in the last few years? Is this rare ground for you in the last few years?

AARON BADDELEY: Let's see, I was in the last group a couple of years ago. Last year I wasn't, but this is not somewhere -- I enjoy being in this position, and actually it feels like I haven't really been away from it. I feel very comfortable out there from the first tee onwards. It's not -- I don't feel like I'm out of my element or anything like that. I'm very comfortable where I'm at.

Q. How difficult will it be for you to not think about earning your first Tour win tomorrow. Is that something you will try to blank out of your mind?

AARON BADDELEY: I think I'm going to just go out there and be patient, keep doing what I've been doing, just worry about each shot. And after that shot, the next one. And depending on what happens, if we happen to separate ourselves a little bit then obviously it might become a little match play. But I can't wait for tomorrow.

Q. Have you allowed yourself to think about that yet this week?

AARON BADDELEY: No, not really. I'm just playing as it comes right now and just playing my game, really. And it's been a lot of fun.

Q. I guess you've got a long day tomorrow. You're supposed to take part in that Easter service tomorrow morning. Any change of plans now that you are part of the late group? Are you planning to get up whenever you have to be at that service?

AARON BADDELEY: Definitely. It's something I definitely cherish to speak and talk about my faith and my testimony. And I hold that in high regard and I'm definitely going to do that. It's a perfect way to start the day.

Q. Did you watch The Masters at all last week?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I watched it all.

Q. What was that experience for you, watching it? You wished you were playing it?

AARON BADDELEY: I wished I played it, but it got me fired up and if not anything, it was more encourage, if anything. I told my wife I'm actually really encouraged just watching it, I could see myself in that situation. I never felt like when I was watching it, I hope to be there. Because I could see exactly me being there. It was actually sort of encouraging, as well as a little frustrating.

Q. I think you only played this once before a few years ago. The way you're playing this week, what -- did it just not fit your schedule? It seems like this course suits your game pretty well?

AARON BADDELEY: Yeah, I wanted to play in '03, but I tore up my ankle, so I wasn't able to play. The last year I got married. This just hasn't quite fit in there. I think I'll be playing here every year, because my wife loves this spot. She said we're coming here every year, and that's fine by me.

Q. The birdie at 16 had to be really big for you, kind of a heart breaker on 15 when you made the bold move and got close and then weren't able to get up-and-down like you did so many times today. How important was it to come back there on 16 and make the birdie?

AARON BADDELEY: It was important also because of Jim hitting it in there right to a couple of feet. And then to hit in there about eight feet and make a putt was definitely good to keep my momentum and just to stick with Jim.

Q. When did you get married last year?


Q. Really? The other thing is what do you have planned after the service? Are you going to take a nap?

AARON BADDELEY: I don't know, I'll probably go on a walk with my wife and get some breakfast and relax, read a little bit, take it easy, nothing big.

Q. Where is your wife from?

AARON BADDELEY: From Scottsdale, Arizona.

Q. Just to be sure, today is your wedding anniversary?


Q. And you've been married two years?


Q. Are we keeping you from something special tonight (laughter).

AARON BADDELEY: We've got dinner reservations, so we're fine.

Q. You actually committed to this tournament last year, but pulled out on the Friday before the tournament. I was just kind of wondering if you knew you were getting married, was it a short courtship?

AARON BADDELEY: I commit to every event at the start of the year, and then we just withdraw, leading up to it. The last thing we want to do is come up to the tournament and not be committed.

Q. Will you be looking at the leaderboard tomorrow?

AARON BADDELEY: Probably on the backside I'll probably glance at it a couple of times. I'm going to try to focus on my ball and then obviously on the back you've got to see what's going on. But I'm going to try to focus on my game. If I can do that I think I'll have the good opportunity to try to win.

Q. You have three wins in Australia, and I didn't see any outside of Australia, professional wins. Is there a comfort factor in Australia, is it anything you had to overcome playing around the world?

AARON BADDELEY: I think I just happened to peak at those times and play really well at those times. Obviously growing up you always wanted to play, just to play in the PGA TOUR and to be over here. And to come over and then be able to play here. To win is just believing and knowing that you can do it is definitely a key to be able to win. So I think probably a little bit of comfort level there and I'm very comfortable with where I'm at now.

Q. What colors are you drawn to for pants and what can we expect tomorrow on Easter Sunday?

AARON BADDELEY: Tomorrow will be a little brighter shirt, let's just say that.

Q. Did you ever win any amateur events here in the U.S.?

AARON BADDELEY: No. I finished second in the U.S. Junior, Junior World Semifinals at Western. Never won any amateur events.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your birdies and bogeys, starting on 2.

AARON BADDELEY: First hole I hit driver to about ten feet.

Second hole I hit driver, 5-iron, 2-putt.

Par-5, 3-wood, 7-iron, 2-putt from about 20 yards.

11 I hit a 3-wood then -- just slightly off the fairway around the trees, hit the bunker and then just hit it out, 2-putted.

12, driver, 8-iron to about 25 feet.

13, I hit 3-wood, 9-iron to about 20 feet and made it.

JOE CHEMYCZ: You made an 8-footer on 16?


Q. What are your comments on the pin positions, like No. 10? They just seemed to be little greens within little greens. Any comments on the pin positions?

AARON BADDELEY: Well, I think what's great about this golf course is the way the greens are so small and then when they set them in certain positions it makes them small greens because it slopes. It makes you be very direct and have to be on the spot. It's just a great golf course for that type of thing.

Q. Is it playing any quicker today than it was on Thursday?

AARON BADDELEY: I think so, yeah. I think the greens are a little firmer today. It was just harder, especially in the wind. It wasn't easy.

Q. What did you hit off 18 and how far did it go and what was your second shot club?

AARON BADDELEY: I hit 3-iron off the tee, probably went maybe 260, maybe, sort of down breeze. And then I had -- 192 and hit 7-iron.

Q. So the wind was left and with you?

AARON BADDELEY: Yes. Left and helping.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Aaron, thank you. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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