LEMONT, Ill. (AP) Three weeks into the four tournaments that make up the PGA Tour Playoffs, it's not hard to figure out who's playing the best golf, either from the playoff standings or the leaderboard at the BMW Championship.
Aaron Baddeley birdied three straight holes after a three-hour rain delay, then finished strong for a 6-under 65 on Friday to share the 36-hole lead at Cog Hill with Jonathan Byrd (69). Only a week ago, Baddeley was in the hunt at the Deutsche Bank Championship before he stalled at the end and finished fifth.
The group one shot behind includes Steve Stricker, who apparently isn't satisfied with his first victory in 6 1/2 years. Stricker won The Barclays in round one, contended over the final two rounds outside Boston and looked as good as ever outside Chicago, stringing together three straight birdies on his way a 66.
And then there's Tiger Woods.
It is difficult to ignore the world's No. 1 player for several reasons, not the least of which is that he has won three times at Cog Hill, already has won five times this year and tied for second in his playoff debut last week at Boston.
The only surprise was how Woods posted his second straight 67 in the BMW Championship.
He made birdie on all three of the par 5s, but two of them can be classified as a bit of a fluke. Another birdie came from the back of a bunker when a butterfly kept getting in his way, and his final birdie to close within one of the leaders came from out of the rough.
It was a strange day for Woods, but he had few complaints.
"I started out hitting it just great," Woods said. "I hit it up there within 10 or 12 feet on every hole starting out, and I made nothing. I felt so bad over my putts. All of a sudden, I lost my swing in the middle part of the round and I felt great over my putts. It's just one of those weird things about golf."
For all the talk about playoffs, there's still a trophy to be won at Cog Hill.
That has not been lost on anyone - not Woods, who only talks about Ws, and certainly not Baddeley or Byrd, both of whom have won already this year on the PGA Tour.
Baddeley and Byrd were at 9-under 133.
Baddeley won his trophy in Phoenix, and he's had a few chances since then. The most prominent opportunity was at Oakmont, when he went into the final round of the U.S. Open with a two-shot lead over Woods and shot 80 in the final round.
"You always like to go ahead and finish off the week with a win, but if you keep giving yourself opportunities, you're going to win your fair share of events," he said.
The Australian is a lock for the Tour Championship - the top 30 in the playoff standings advance to East Lake - and a victory in the BMW Championship would give him a chance to capture the $10 million prize for the FedEx Cup.