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Aaron Baddeley targets world top 25

Australia's Aaron Baddeley, long regarded as one of the brightest talents in the game, has targeted a top-25 world ranking this year.

The Arizona-based professional climbed to a career-high 44th by winning last week's Phoenix Open and has set his sights on making a bigger impact in golf's elite events.

"I feel very comfortable with where my game is going," Baddeley told reporters on Wednesday as he prepared for this week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

"Starting this year, I really wanted to get at least two wins this season. My world ranking jumped up a lot after winning my first PGA Tour title last year when my target was to get into the world's top 50.

"Now I'm already there so my goal is to be top 25 by the end of this year. I want to be the best and I want to win major championships.

"I know there is a long way to go but I'm definitely setting my sights on that."

Baddeley, who made his PGA Tour breakthrough with a one-shot victory at last year's Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, South Carolina, says he is reaping just reward for hard work.

"I've been making swing changes for the last 18 months and I really feel those changes are coming round," the 25-year-old added. "I feel comfortable with them. I understand them a lot.

"If I do hit an errant shot, it's easy to put it back in place and be able to hit the next one good."

Tipped as the next Greg Norman after winning the 1999 Australian Open aged 18, Baddeley believes he suffered over the next few years mainly due to his own high expectations.

"I put too much pressure on myself, just because I played amazing golf that week," he recalled of his Australian Open triumph as an amateur.

"I felt like I should play to that level the whole time. I was still learning, still growing as a person really. But I grew up fast in a couple of years and learned a lot about myself."

Baddeley, who birdied three of the last four holes to triumph at the TPC Scottsdale on Sunday, enjoys a friendly rivalry with compatriots Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, the U.S. Open champion.

"We are all pretty good mates and grew up playing together," he said.

"Adam was just leaving juniors when I started playing amateur events and Geoff and I play together a fair bit in Scottsdale, where we both live.

"I guess there is an unspoken rivalry, but it's great when you see friends playing well."

February 8, 2007

 




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