Appleby steals the show at home Down Under

By Doug FergusonNovember 14, 2010, 10:56 am

JBWare Masters

MELBOURNE, Australia – Stuart Appleby received hardly any fanfare at the Australian Masters until he slipped on the gold jacket that a year ago belonged to Tiger Woods.

He wasn’t among the five faces on promotional posters around Melbourne, nor was he invited to the gala dinner. And even though none of the others had more wins this year – and none had ever shot a 59 to win a PGA Tour event – that was fine with him.

“I noticed it, but it was not even close to annoying me,” Appleby said Sunday after closing with a 6-under 65 for a one-shot victory. “I have an ego, no doubt about it. But it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, they haven’t got me up there?’ It’s the Tiger Woods show, and the others. You know what? It didn’t play out that way.”

The only entertainment value from Woods came in his final hour, when he made two eagles over the final four holes and shot 65 to match his best score of the year. He still ended a full year without winning, as he finished in fourth place as the defending champion.

“I didn’t play good enough,” Woods said. “I didn’t make enough putts. That’s what happens.”

Appleby was as golden as the winner’s jacket he wore.

He rallied from a seven-shot deficit in the final round, stayed in the game by making a 30-foot par putt on the 16th, pulled ahead with a 25-foot birdie on the 17th and two-putted for birdie on the final hole.

Adam Bland, who had a three-shot lead going into the final round, was the last one with a chance to catch him. Bland hit 6-iron to 10 feet on the par-5 18th, but missed the eagle putt that would have forced a playoff.

Appleby already had reason to celebrate this year, winning The Greenbrier Classic with a 59 on the last day. This might have been even sweeter. It has been nine years since he won on home soil, dating to the 2001 Australian Open.

It wasn’t from a lack of effort, or attention.

“We play around the world for big money and big tournaments and big fancy ratings and everything like that,” he said. “But you come home to Australia, and it’s real. That’s probably hurt me too many times, really wanting to win.”

Not many would have given him much of a chance going into the final round seven shots behind. With four birdies on the front nine, he got back into the game, then holed the two long putts to finally win the third leg of the Australian Slam. He previously won the Australian PGA and the Australian Open.

Appleby finished at 10-under 274 and won for the 12th time worldwide.

About his only mistake was nearly missing the trophy presentation. Coming out of the bathroom, he saw what looked to be the closing ceremony on a big video screen, then heard his name announced as the winner and sprinted under the grandstands and onto the 18th green. Another big gallery – the Sunday attendance approached 18,000 – stuck around to watch him.

Appleby thanked them, realizing that they weren’t all there to watch him.

Woods was not quite the same character they saw a year ago at Kingston Heath, when record crowds topped 100,000 for the four rounds and the world’s No. 1 player – at the time, anyway – delivered a memorable performance with a wire-to-wire win.

That was his 82nd victory around the world. It remains his last.

Twelve days later, Woods was in a car accident outside his Florida home and soon after came revelations of extramarital affairs. He sat out for nearly months, struggled through the year with his game, was divorced from his wife and is still piecing his game together with a brand new swing.

It remains a work in progress. He didn’t show up on the leaderboard at Victoria Golf Club until the final hour.

The culprit all week was putting, and Woods replaced his reliable Scotty Cameron putter with a Nike Method version, which he uses at home in practice. It was the second time this year he swapped out putters, also doing it for three rounds at the British Open. Both times, he attributed the switch to slow greens. It wasn’t terribly effective either time.

Woods missed two par putts inside 4 feet on the front nine and fell as many as 12 shots behind. He played the final six holes in 6 under, highlighted by the eagle putts on the par-4 15th and a 15-footer on the par-5 18th that brought the only fist pump of the week.

“It would have been nice if I had gotten off to that start,” Woods said.

He finished three shots back at 7-under 277, the closest he has been to the winner all year. He also was three behind Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open.

Woods now gets two weeks at home – including Thanksgiving, where his troubles all began – before finishing out the year in California for his Chevron World Challenge.

“I can do this in streaks,” he said of his final six holes, and referring to his Ryder Cup singles match when he played the last seven holes in 7 under par. “Unfortunately, I haven’t done this for an entire round. It takes time. The streaks are now lasting longer. I still need to do it for an entire round. Obviously, I didn’t do it for 72 holes.”

Appleby finished his amazing day by signing dozens of flags, along with a couple of posters that featured Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas.

“They could have put, ‘Mr. 59’ in capital letters down the bottom,” Appleby joked. “I don’t need a picture.”

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.