Quinney Collapses at Close of FBR Open

Monday, February 5th 2007, 6:36 am
By: News On 6

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Aaron Baddeley had already conquered the pressure of leading down the stretch on the PGA Tour. Jeff Quinney still hasn't.

Baddeley birdied three of the final four holes and took advantage of Quinney's late collapse Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the FBR Open, the Australian's second win on the tour.

It was a dramatic late turnaround for two golfers who are virtually neighbors in north Scottsdale.

Baddeley trailed Quinney by three shots with four holes to go but birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes en route to his second PGA Tour victory. The 26-year-old Australian, who also has U.S. citizenship, won the Verizon Heritage last year.

``I'm sure Jeff is disappointed with the way he finished, but I was just trying to put pressure on him towards the end,'' Baddeley said. ``When I got three back, I was really just thinking if I can be one back playing the last hole, I've got a chance.''

As it turned out, he was 1-up with one hole to go.

Baddeley said he felt far different after winning this one than he in his initial PGA Tour victory.

``The first one felt more of a relief,'' he said, ``where this one is more like `All right, now we're making headway to where I want to go. ... I want to be the best.''

Quinney, a PGA Tour rookie after five seasons on the Nationwide Tour, had led since late in the second round but bogeyed the final two holes, marking the third straight tournament he has led or shared the lead in the last round but failed to win.

His misery began when his tee shot splashed into the water at the 332-yard, par-4 17th. After his drop, his third shot landed just 4 feet from the cup, but he missed the short putt for a bogey.

Baddeley, meanwhile, rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th to go from one shot behind to one ahead.

``That was probably one of the best putts I hit all week,'' he said.

Baddeley shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 to finish at 21-under 196. John Rollins tied the best round of the week at 63 and was second at 20 under, one shot ahead of Quinney (68). Bart Bryant was 18 under and Billy Mayfair followed at 17 under.

``You knew a lot of birdies were going to be flying,'' Rollins said. ``The weather was perfect, the golf course has been fantastic all week. You just knew you had to make a bunch of birdies.''

Baddeley earned $1.08 million for the victory under bright sunshine at the TPC Scottsdale.

A record Sunday crowd of 93,475 watched the final round, bringing the total for a weeklong total of 507,990, shy of last year's record 536,767.

Quinney tried to be satisfied with his third consecutive top-seven finish.

``I'm just going to look back and learn a few things this week,'' he said. ``I mean, if you would have told me this a couple of weeks ago, that I've made whatever amount of money I made, I'd take that in a second.''

Going from first to third cost Quinney $672,000 in prize money.

``You know, I'm still a very confident player,'' he said. ``I'm not going to let this baring me down at all. I can learn from it and just get better next time.''

Baddeley sank a 9-footer for birdie to tie Quinney at 19 under, but only for an instant on the 595-yard 13th. Quinney, playing in the same group, hit a bunker shot four feet from the cup, then made it for a birdie to regain a one-stroke lead.

On the 477-yard, par-4 14th, Quinney made a 6-footer for birdie go to 21 under, and Baddeley ended a string of 35 consecutive holes without a bogey after his tee shot went into a bunker. His second shot sailed left into the deep rough, with a sand trap between him and the green. He ended up missing a 34-footer for par.

Quinney missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 15th.

Quinney played for Arizona State, and had Sun Devils fans behind him all day. Meanwhile, Baddeley had friends and family wearing T-shirts that read ``Bad's Brigade.'' His sister-in-law made them Saturday night.

Heath Slocum had a hole-in-one with a 7-iron on the 175-yard fourth hole. It was his first on the PGA Tour and fifth on the tour overall this season. He finished sixth at 16 under.