Blaine, Minn. - Aaron Baddeley couldn't resist checking the leaderboard. His chances of winning the 3M Open were dashed – all thanks to Lee Hodges' impressive performance. However, Baddeley still had a lot on the line as he stepped onto the course on Sunday afternoon.
Like many other players, Baddeley was vying for a favorable position in the FedExCup rankings. But his situation was different. Due to his past champion status, he found himself quite low on the priority ranking, making it insufficient to qualify for the Regular Season finale next week at the Wyndham Championship through his category alone. His only hope of making it to the Playoffs was by securing a top 10 finish, which would automatically grant him a spot at the Sedgefield Country Club.
He had dubbed the 3M Open a "four-day qualifier" from the moment he arrived in Minnesota, and that sentiment lingered as he navigated the back nine of TPC Twin Cities on Sunday.
Baddeley hovered around the edge of the top 10 for a significant portion of the round. While others in the field surged ahead with early birdies, an even-par front-nine briefly pushed Baddeley beyond the critical threshold. However, he showed resilience and chipped in for an eagle on the par-5 12th, propelling him back into contention. Unfortunately, a bogey on the par-3 13th once again put his position in jeopardy. Nevertheless, a crucial birdie on the drivable par-4 16th secured his position, finishing the tournament T7 at 15 under.
As a result of this finish, he climbed to 92nd in the FedExCup standings, 137 points behind Austin Eckroat, who occupies the 70th spot. To qualify for the Playoffs, Baddeley would likely need to achieve a top-three finish at the upcoming Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Despite the uncertainty of the future, Baddeley remains content with his current position. His primary goal for the year was to secure a win, and the second objective was to secure a spot in the Top 125 category, ensuring his tour card for 2024 during the FedExCup Fall.
Reflecting on his journey from the past champion category, Baddeley acknowledges that it was not an easy path as it offered limited playing opportunities. Consequently, being on the verge of securing his card for next year is an achievement that fills him with a sense of satisfaction and excitement.
As Baddeley heads into the Wyndham Championship, he carries the hope of continuing his impressive performance and making a strong case for his entry into the coveted Playoffs. Whether he accomplishes this feat or not, he remains grateful for his progress and is determined to continue striving for success in the world of professional golf.