MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – It took Aaron Baddeley about 24 hours to turn wrong into right at the Presidents Cup. And in the same pressure-packed situation on the 18th hole at Royal Melbourne.
Baddeley's errant shot with a 3-wood – he hit the ground well behind the ball – on the final hole in the alternate-shot matches Thursday cost the Internationals a win.
With the team leading 1-up, partner and fellow Australian Jason Day was forced to hit Baddeley's poor shot from the rough and the team made bogey, allowing Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar to escape with a halve.
The Australians also lost the 17th when Baddeley missed a 10-foot putt for par.
On Friday, Baddeley hit an iron off the 18th tee in fourballs, then watched as Day hit his ball into trouble. This time, Baddeley made a 4-foot putt to save par and save him and Day from another late collapse, beating Tiger Woods and Johnson 1-up.
“Yesterday was very disappointing, even though we still got a halve,'' Baddeley said. “But it was great to bounce back. We are a team and I feel like we feed well off each other and we get on great out there. To beat Tiger and Dustin, which is a tough pair to beat, it's pretty special.''
Day said the win over Woods and Johnson was even sweeter considering the tough conditions at Royal Melbourne – slick, rock-hard greens brought on by a strong northerly wind.
“It's very tiring and very hot out there, but Badds played wonderful golf,'' Day said. “It was very gusty and I'm just glad I had him as a teammate today.''
And on Saturday, too. After play ended Friday, International captain Greg Norman selected his young guns to take on the veteran – and unbeaten – American pairing of Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk in Saturday morning's foursomes.
Norman was effusive in praising Baddeley's ability to turn Thursday's collapse into a positive.
“I think he will remember that match, he will remember the putt,'' Norman said. “He will remember the second shot he hit into the 18th green. He completely eliminated any negative thought that he had there from the previous day. So now he knows he can do it.''
Norman said Baddeley's comeback gave the International team, which trails 7-5 after two days, a big boost.
“We are extremely proud of the way Aaron Baddeley bounced back from yesterday,'' Norman said. “I know he was kind of gut-wrenched a little bit by what happened on the 18th, but to see what he did … did him a world of good, did the team a world of good. We've got a huge amount of confidence in the room right now.''
Baddeley felt the same.
“If we can get a couple of points going on Saturday, we can make it a tight match,'' he said.