Appleby Off to Good Start in 2004

By Sports NetworkJanuary 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Stuart Appleby carded a 7-under-par 66 Thursday in breezy conditions to grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Darren Clarke stands alone in second place at 6-under-par 67. Kirk Triplett, Scott Hoch and Justin Leonard share third place at 5-under-par 68.

Appleby did not get off a great start. He needed to take a penalty drop on the first hole and that led to a bogey. The Australian recovered with back-to-back birdies from the fifth to head to the back side of the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort at 1-under.

The 32-year-old caught fire on the back nine. He rolled home a birdie at the 10th and followed by dropping a 9-iron within four feet to setup birdie at the 11th.

Appleby made it three straight as he drained a birdie from within 10 feet at the 12th. He got up-and-down for par from just off the green at the next.

He then converted consecutive birdies from the 14th to climb to 6-under. Appleby closed out his round by rolling in a 12-footer for birdie at the last.

'This is an unusual wind, very unusual. It's probably the easier wind, I think,' said Appleby, who won the Las Vegas Invitational last season. 'Not the usual wind. A little different to what we'd seen all week. I was pretty unfamiliar with it because I haven't been here for four years.'

Appleby, whose last win before Las Vegas came at the 1999 Shell Houston Open, is glad to be back at this event.

'You say it's nice, you had a good season, it's an honor to play here, it's a privilege to play here, you're playing with the best players of the previous year,' said Appleby. 'I don't think any player can deny that.'

Clarke, who won the 2003 WGC-NEC Invitational, also bogeyed the first hole when he was unable to get up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker. He ran off three straight birdies from the fourth to get to minus-two.

The Ulsterman got up-and-down for birdie on the ninth, then drained a shot from over 60 feet out from the back edge of the 10th green to climb to 4-under.

He continued his move up the leaderboard when he dropped a 4-iron within 15 feet for birdie at the 13th. At the last, Clarke two-putted for birdie to close at 6-under.

'Towards the end of last year, when I was trying to get myself into shape, my hand-eye coordination went out a little bit, I just got out of sync,' Clarke said. 'Because of that, I was not hitting the ball well.

'Having the layoff, coming back, hitting balls here, I seem to have gotten it back a little quicker than I thought. Today was very positive from that point of view, hitting the ball as well as I did, and giving myself as many chances. That's the whole reason why I'm trying to get in better shape.'

Clarke, who has dropped several pounds and quit smoking, is in as good a shape as he has ever been.

'Today walking up and down the hills, I was fine,' said Clarke. 'It was my first ever competitive round, I think, without having any nicotine in my body. That was another first. No beer, no nicotine. Don't know what's going on really.'

Fred Couples, John Huston, Davis Love III, Shigeki Maruyama and Adam Scott share seventh place at 4-under-par 69.

U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk carded a 3-under-par 70. He is joined there by Retief Goosen, Peter Jacobsen, J.L. Lewis and PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel.

Tiger Woods finished one stroke further back at 2-under-par 71 after sinking an eagle at the par-5 closing hole.

Defending champion Ernie Els birdied two of his last three holes to finish at even-par 73.
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."