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Luck Be a Lady Tonight

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Millions come to Las Vegas with dreams of grandeur. Few leave as winners. Stuart Appleby is one of those lucky few. The 32-year-old Australian birdied the first hole of a playoff to defeat Scott McCarron and win the Las Vegas Invitational and its first-place prize of $720,000.

This was Applebys fourth career win on the PGA Tour; but it had been four years, five months and ten days since his last victory. Its a very fine line between winning and not, Stuart said. Anyone who wins out here needs a bit of good fortune.

In the song inspired by this town, the man who owned it, Frank Sinatra, crooned: They call you lady luck. But there is room for doubt. At times you have a very un-lady-like way of running out.

Applebys good luck almost ran out on the par-3 17th hole. He arrived there with a one-stroke lead over McCarron. The hole was cut close to the left side of a green that slopes severely to an adjacent, win-killing pond. Appleby pulled his tee-shot badly and as the ball bounded along the left side of the green and then rolled down that slippery slope towards the water, Stuart said Oh, &%^#$@. Wait, let me edit that. I said Oh gee, I cant believe I hit it there.

Back to Frank: Youre on this date with me. The pickins have been lush. And yet before the evening is over, you might give the brush.
 
Well, incredibly, Applebys ball hung up in the very light rough and stayed dry. Stuart did make bogey and lose his lead; but if the ball had ended up in the pond, he probably never would have made it into a playoff.

You might forget your manners. You might refuse to stay. And so the best that I can do is pray.

We couldnt see where the ball ended up, said Appleby. So we asked the TV cameraman and he told us it stayed up . Ssshwewww.
 
Luck be a lady tonight.
 
Appleby finished second in both of his previous starts on Tour. And, he finished second here in Vegas last year. So, he was due. Thats all we try to do out here, is get into the hunt, Appleby said. Coming down the stretch, I just thought back to those times I won, how I did it, and I never really got nervous. His putt of 14 feet, down the hill, was nerve-less.
 
It has been said many times in the world of sports that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Appleby is one of the hardest workers on tour. I never doubted Id win again, he said.
 
Applebys winners check moves his earnings for the year to $2.47 million, putting him in the top ten on the money list and assuring him a spot in the elite, season-ending Tour Championship. The win also returns him to Hawaii to start next years season at the Mercedes Championships. I love Kapalua, he said. Now that I think of it, I didnt realize I hadnt been there for four years.
 
I cant wait to go, said Stuarts wife, Ashley. We are so lucky.
 
Luck, let a gentleman see just now nice a dame you can be.
 
Early this past week, before tournament play began, Appleby said he never gambles in the casinos when hes here in Vegas. I walk through the casinos and see all of those people pulling on those slot machines, chasing a dream and I just shake my head, he said. I believe Im smart enough not to gamble Hey, playing golf for a living is a big enough gamble anyway.
 
A week in Las Vegas comes to an end and the biggest winner in town never rolled a die, never picked up a card. But he flies away with nearly three-quarters of a million.
 
A lady never leaves her escort. It isnt fair, it isnt nice. A lady doesnt wander all over the room and blow on some other guys dice.
 
Luck be a lady tonight.

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