Australia's Aaron Baddeley is just 18 holes away from tasting success on the US PGA Tour for just the fifth time in 20 seasons.
Australia's Aaron Baddeley is just 18 holes away from tasting success on the US PGA Tour for just the fifth time in 20 seasons. Jared C. Tilton

Bogey-free Baddeley on the verge of rare PGA feat

AARON Baddeley has carded a six-under 66 on moving day at a windy Coco Beach Golf and Country Club to take the third-round lead at the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open.

Baddeley was bogey free on Saturday and his six birdies took him to 12-under 204 for a one-stroke lead over Nate Lashley, in the event that was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Maria.

"I hit a lot of greens today," Baddeley said. "I just feel like it was a pretty low stress today.

"I hit the ball close a few times, I had some short birdie putts, so just doing a few things like that made it pretty comfortable."

The 37-year-old Australian won the 2016 Barbasol Championship for the last of his four PGA Tour titles.

"The last couple weeks I haven't quite hit the ball as I normally have been hitting it," Baddeley said.

"And then figured out one little thing I wasn't quite doing, one of my keys.

RIO GRANDE, PUERTO RICO - FEBRUARY 23: Aaron Baddeley of Australia attempts a birdie putt on the 17th green during the third round of the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club on February 23, 2019 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Kevin C.  Cox/Getty Images)
Aaron Baddeley has found his range on the greens. Kevin C. Cox

"This week I'm hitting the ball really well and also making some putts. That's key."

Baddeley started the day tied seventh with Curtis Luck, two shots off the halfway lead.

While the veteran jumped to the top of the leaderboard his 22-year-old compatriot slid down to a share of 22nd after he struggled to a one-over 73.

Luck was joined at five under by fellow Australian Cameron Davis, who had six birdies in his five-under 67 that lifted him 27 places.

ATLANTIC BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  Cameron Davis of Australia hits his third shot on the seventh hole from a bunker during the second round of the Tour Championship held at Atlantic Beach Country Club on September 21, 2018 in Atlantic Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Cameron Davis was also in the hunt. Michael Cohen

Lashley, tied for the second-round lead with D.J. Trahan, had a 69 to be alone in second, one shot clear of third-placed Martin Trainer (69).

Trahan (71) is in a five-way share of fourth at nine under along with fellow Americans Joey Garber (65), Martin Piller (66), Wyndham Clark (69) and Johnson Wagner (69).

Rafael Campos, the Puerto Rican player who won a Tour event in the Bahamas in January, shot 74 to fall into a tie for 50th at one under. The winner will receive a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an exemption to the PGA Championship, but won't get an invitation to the Masters.