Aaron Baddeley returned to his old swing and a title he hadn’t seen in four years – a PGA Tour winner.
In a battle of generations Sunday at Riviera in Los Angeles, the 29-year-old Baddeley played mistake-free over the final six holes to hold off Vijay Singh and deny a fairy-tale finish for 51-year-old Fred Couples.
Baddeley closed with a 2-under 69 for a one-shot victory over Singh, who turns 48 on Tuesday.
It was the third career PGA Tour win for Baddeley, whose game had slipped so much that he had plunged to No. 224 in the world. This isn’t enough to get back into the top 50, but at least he can book a trip to Augusta National in April for the Masters.
Singh, who only three weeks ago had fallen out of the top 100 in the world for the first time in more than 21 years, had his highest finish since he won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2008 on his way to the FedEx Cup. Despite back-to-back bogeys on the back nine, he gave himself a chance to the end and closed with a 69.
Two decades after he last won at Riviera, Couples ran off three straight birdies to start his round and take the lead, revving up the Riviera gallery. But it all came crashing down with a double bogey on the seventh hole – where Baddeley made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe – and Couples never could catch up again.
Couples bogeyed two of the last three holes for a 73 and wound up in a tie for seventh. He has an MRI scheduled for his back today, then plans to return to the Champions Tour until the Masters.
Bernhard Langer shot a 6-under-par 66 to set a tournament record with a 20-under 196 total and win the ACE Group Classic at Naples, Fla., by four shots.
The 53-year-old Langer held a four-stroke lead going into the final round. Fred Funk got within two after Langer bogeyed No. 11, but Langer came right back with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14. He finished with a 5-footer for birdie on No. 18.
Funk had a chance to make the final hole a little interesting, but missed a short birdie putt on No. 17 and finished with a 66 for a 16-under total.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng earned her third tournament win in three weeks, shooting a 6-under 66 to pull away for an easy five-shot victory over Michelle Wie in the LPGA Thailand at Pattaya, Thailand.
Tseng led by one stroke over Wie and I.K. Kim going into the final round of the season-opening LPGA event and had the lowest score of the day with seven birdies and one bogey to finish at 15-under 273.
Wie settled for a 70 to finish second in the season-opening LPGA event, while Kim had a 71 was another stroke back in a tie for third with Karrie Webb, who shot a 69. Paula Creamer was fifth at 8 under after a 71.