WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Stuart Appleby hit golf’s magic number Sunday, shooting a 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic.
Appleby’s 11-under round put him at 22 under, giving him a one-stroke victory to end a four-year winless drought. Third-round leader Jeff Overton (67) narrowly missed a long birdie try on the par-3 18th that would have forced a playoff.
Appleby is the fifth PGA Tour player to reach the milestone. The Australian’s round came less than a month after Paul Goydos had a 59 at John Deere Classic.
The others to shoot 59 were Al Geiberger at the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational and David Duval at the 1999 Bob Hope Classic.
Appleby birdied the final three holes with putts of under 15 feet to earn the $1.08 million winner’s check.
“You don’t shoot a low number … feeling a huge amount of indecision,” Appleby said. “I was just comfortable.”
Appleby saw playing partner D.A. Points flirt with a 59 on Saturday before settling for a 61.
On Sunday, it was Appleby’s turn.
“It was nice to be on the receiving end,” Appleby said.
Appleby won for the first time since the 2006 Houston Open. His previous career low was 62 in the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational.
Appleby’s achievement was the first 59 on a par-70 course. Goydos’ came on a par 71 and the others on par 72s.
The 39-year-old Appleby didn’t have the advantage of lift, clean and place that Goydos and Geiberger enjoyed, even though overnight rains left mud on some balls.
Appleby trailed Overton by seven strokes to start his round and was playing three groups ahead.
Appleby shot 6-under 28 on the front nine and eagled the par-5 12th before settling for three straight pars.
He got his momentum going again just in time with birdies of 15, 10 and 11 feet on the final three holes.
Appleby’s feat toppled the course record of 60 set by Sam Snead in 1950 and matched Saturday by J.B. Holmes.
Overton had 34 putts in the final round, three-putting three times.
“I got beat by a 59,” said Overton, who had his third runner-up finish of the year and remains winless in five years on the Tour. “What can you say? I played great, hit a lot of great shots. You can’t win golf tournaments when you putt it that bad.”
Brendon de Jonge (65) finished third at 17 under. Tied at 15 under were Points (70), Woody Austin (63), Paul Stankowski (64), Roger Tambellini (65) and Jimmy Walker (67).