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Appleby contending for first time this season

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CROMWELL, Conn. – There was a time when Stuart Appleby was one of the PGA Tour’s brighter stars, capable of winning a tournament on any given week.

Those days have dissipated lately, but the Aussie is out to prove that they aren’t over at this week’s Travelers Championship.

Appleby posted rounds of 68-65 to climb the leaderboard at TPC-River Highlands – his first time contending for a title this season. In 13 previous starts, he has made the cut just five times, with a best finish of T-21 at the Honda Classic.

“I’m thinking better, I’m getting better,” he said after posting seven birdies and two bogeys on Friday. “I mean, it’s really a crumbling wreck, my game. I wasn’t hitting it any good and I wasn’t thinking any good and I was just really finding it very hard. All self-induced issues. I had a back injury that was affecting my swing, not hurting me, and that seemed to make it hard to get on top of that most of last year and all of this year.

“Yeah, body and mind is a lot better – and if you get those two right, you play better golf.”