Appleby tied his low round of the season Friday at the Firestone Country Club. And in doing so, he has moved from even par to 6-under and into contention at the $5 million WGC-NEC Invitational.
Appleby carded eight birdies and two bogeys in the second round. Of the eight red numbers, none were more spectacular than the one produced at the par-4 18th.
Thanks to a mis-club by his caddie, Appleby found himself just off the fringe of the back of the green ' 45 feet downhill to the hole.
There was barely a 50 percent chance of getting it up and down from where I was, Appleby said.
Beating the odds, he chipped in for birdie.
Aside from the home-hole dramatics, Appleby's putter was the key to his round. He needed only 22 putts on Friday, compared to 31 in the first round.
I felt really confident with the putter, Appleby said. I worked last night on the putting greenit wasnt anything really wrong with my stroke, I just wasnt concentrating on my alignment.
By his standards, Appleby has had a dismal season. Like last year, he has yet to win. However, he did manage to record a couple of top-3 finishes and end the 2000 campaign 24th in earnings.
This year, Appleby has but three top-10s and stands in 61st place on the money list.
Its been very disappointing, the 30-year-old said of his season. I dont sit at home and cry at night, but its very disappointing.
So much so that even this weeks $1 million first-place prize wouldnt compensate for what he has failed to accomplish in 2001.
It would make it a better season, wouldnt make it a good season, he said.
On a brighter side, Appleby has played well of late. He shot 64 in the third round of the Buick Open two weeks ago and was in contention through three rounds of the PGA Championship. Though, on both occasions he shot 73 in the final round and finished outside the top-10.
Theres only two months left in the season. There are no more majors remaining. And Appleby isnt eligible for the Ryder Cup.
So whats left for the 58th ranked player in the world (the top-50 qualify for the $5 million WGC American Express Championship in September) to look forward to?
I just want to get something out of this season, something positive, some good golf, he said.
Today was sort of more like the days I want, more like it should be.