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Appleby battles through 'cancerous thoughts' to contend in Australia

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Eleven years removed from his triumph at the Australian Open, Stuart Appleby again finds his name on the leaderboard entering Sunday's final round  albeit under largely different circumstances.

The 41-year-old, who two years ago shot a final-round 59 to capture The Greenbrier Classic, failed to keep his card on the PGA Tour this year and will be forced to rely upon a one-time exemption based on career earnings to play next year. Appleby admits that his struggles in recent years have been as much mental as physical.

'I've really struggled with my putting at times and started to feel like I was never going to hit the hole,' he told Reuters this week. 'The hole's just sitting there dude, it hasn't changed in the last couple of hundred years. And those cancerous thoughts just creep into your game.'

A nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, Appleby has played his way into contention once again this week at The Lakes. A 2-under 70 in Saturday's third round moved the Aussie into a tie for sixth, four shots behind leader John Senden.

'My game is definitely on the uptake, mentally I've really struggled the last two years,' he added. 'And if you struggle with your self-belief you're pretty much going to struggle with your scorecard.'

With Sunday's final round, Appleby will look for another solid effort in hopes of continuing to recover the game that got him into a playoff at the British Open a decade ago.

'I know I've got the talent, I know I've got the resources and the fight and the will power,' he noted. 'I just can't wait for my next victory.'