Originally created 02/29/04

Augusta's Taylor plans to 'play it safe'



TUCSON, Ariz. - Augusta's Vaughn Taylor has a simple strategy heading into today's final round of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm not going to play safe," the PGA Tour rookie said Saturday after shooting 3-under-par 69. "If the weather's decent, I'm sure I've got to shoot a good bit under par to catch them. The course is vulnerable because there is no rough."

Taylor, a former Augusta State golfer, trails Aaron Baddeley and Heath Slocum by two shots. Mike Heinen, Carlos Franco and Mark Hensby are tied for third.

Taylor, who is tied for sixth place with Bill Glasson and Per-Ulrik Johannson, shot his third straight round in the 60s to remain in contention.

The PGA Tour rookie posted five birdies against two bogeys Saturday.

"I played the front well and just missed a short putt on 13," Taylor said. "I missed a two-footer for par, and it kind of killed my momentum a little bit, I guess. I couldn't get anything to go coming in."

Taylor is no stranger to playing near the lead: He won a Nationwide Tour event last season and was in contention several times.

"I'm trying not to think of it as different," he said of being in contention for his first PGA Tour title. "I was a little nervous (Saturday), but I relaxed."

Baddeley shot his way into a share of the third-round lead with an 8-under 64 Saturday. He and Slocum took different routes to reach 15-under 201.

Baddeley, who began the round six strokes behind, carded eight birdies and no bogeys on a cool, gusty day. Slocum bogeyed the last hole and turned in 70 the day after his 64 earned him a one-shot lead heading into the third round.

Defending champion Frank Lickliter shot 72 and is in a tie with 13 others at 8-under 208.

Johansson finished with a double-bogey - and cost himself a share of the lead - for the second straight round.

This time, he boomed a 314-yard drive on No. 18 that found a water hazard. After a drop onto tricky footing in a wet area, Johansson's approach shot landed on the green, but he three-putted.

Baddeley had three top-10 finishes last year as a rookie, including a playoff loss to Ernie Els at the Sony Open.