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Baddeley to play more in Australia & Europe

Aaron Baddeley's failure to get a US PGA Tour card will almost certainly see him back playing in Australia early next year.

His first tournament is likely to be the Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup from January 24-27.

Had he got the US tour berth he had set his heart on, Baddeley would probably have skipped the Australasian tour to make a quick start on the American money list.

But he now looks bound for the European tour, where he is exempt, and he is likely to play at least two of that tour's three co-sanctioned events on the Australasian tour.

The Johnnie Walker Classic, Heineken Classic in Melbourne and ANZ Championship in Sydney all run back-to-back early next year.

Baddeley's manager Paul Galli said yesterday the two-time Australian Open champion was frustrated by his failure at the US tour qualifying school, where he tied 130th yesterday.

But he would be back to try to crack the US tour for the 2003 season and in the meantime was likely to be seen in action on home soil. "There's every likelihood that he'll be playing tournaments on the Australasian Tour at the start of the year," said Galli.

"We were waiting to see what happened (in the US). It's a disappointing result.

"He spent this year and obviously the last 18 months or so really trying to prepare to get on to the US tour for 2002 and unfortunately he's not on there.

"It's a great challenge for him to make sure he gets there for 2003."

Baddeley will now take a six-week break.

The $2.23 million Johnnie Walker Classic field already includes Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, US Open champion Retief Goosen, Lee Westwood, Michael Campbell and Adam Scott.

The $2 million Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne the following week may be tempting to Baddeley because it is in his home town.

The $1.75 million ANZ Championship at The Lakes the week after replaces the Greg Norman International, which Baddeley won last year, defeating Sergio Garciain a play-off.

Galli said it was likely Baddeley would play some of those tournaments, although probably not all three.

"Possibly. He doesn't normally play three in a row," he said.

"See, that's another thing we want to discuss because now he's been out there a year as a pro. And given his fitness, it's possible.

"But as I say, he hasn't played three in the past.

"We'll certainly be looking at that, as some part of those events being the start of the year."

Despite not achieving his goal, Galli said Baddeley had no regrets about the path he had taken over the last year.

"Look he's got a European Tour card, he's got an Australasian Tour card, he'll still play the odd tournament in Japan," Galli said.

"He won't be short of places to play."


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