Baddeley captures first PGA victory


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Aaron Baddeley won the Verizon Heritage for his first PGA Tour title Sunday, rallying with two late birdies and finishing off Jim Furyk with a scrambling par on Harbour Town’s lighthouse closing hole.

The 25-year-old Australian birdied two of the hardest holes on the PGA Tour – the 14th was statistically the hardest par 3 on tour last year and the 15th was the hardest par 5 – to take the lead. He shot a 1-under 70 to finish at 15 under, a stroke ahead of Furyk (71) and two ahead of Vaughn Taylor (66) and Billy Mayfair (69).

Furyk had his chances to tie after Baddeley chunked a chip shot at the par-3 17th and made bogey. But Furyk followed by missing a 10-foot par putt to remain one back.

Again on the 18th hole, Furyk had a tying 12-foot birdie putt, but slid it left. Baddeley, who missed the green when his second shot went long and right, then won with a 6-foot par putt that caught the right edge of the cup and dropped in.

Baddeley won $954,000 and a tour exemption through 2008. He has three victories in Australia, where his family moved from New Hampshire when he was 2.

China Open

BEIJING (AP) – Jeev Milkha Singh became the second Indian player to win on the PGA European Tour, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-stroke victory over Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in the China Open.

Singh had a 10-under 278 on the Nick Faldo-designed Beijing Honghua International course. Countryman Arjun Atwal has two European tour wins, the 2002 Malaysian Open and 2003 Singapore Masters.

Fernandez-Castano also shot a 70. Third-round leader David Lynn of England (73) finished third, two strokes back.

AP-ES-04-16-06 1807EDT