Appleby Holds Off Singh at Mercedes

By Sports NetworkJanuary 11, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Stuart Appleby parred the final two holes Sunday to hold off Vijay Singh and win the Mercedes Championships. Appleby closed with a two-under 71 to finish at 22-under-par 270.
 
Singh finished with a three-under 70 to end the event at 21-under-par 271. Darren Clarke finished a distant third at 17-under-par 275.
 
'The end of last year, I really tried to switch off for the little period. I had to have a break. I guess that wasn't something I was doing when I was having a lot of seconds,' said Appleby, who has finished in the top-two in four of his last six events. 'I was just nose to the ground and go. I think my game was really inside me this week. I felt very confident the way I was hitting it.'
 
Appleby held a two-shot lead entering the day and with his play on the front nine, it didn't look like he would have any trouble holding that lead. However, Singh caught fire on the back nine to put pressure on the Australian.
 
Appleby rolled home back-to-back birdies from the fourth to climb to minus-22 and gain a five-stroke lead as Singh had dropped a stroke on No. 2.
 
The lead continued to grow from there. Appleby went birdie, bogey, birdie from the seventh, while Singh bogeyed No. 8 and birdied No. 9 to give Appleby a six-stroke cushion heading to the back side.
 
From there, it started to get interesting. Appleby managed just back-to-back pars from the 10th before dropping a stroke on No. 12 to fall back to 22- under.
 
Singh opened the back side with four straight pars. The Fijian, who ran off seven birdies in a row to end the second round, began to make his move at the 14th.
 
He made birdie there to get within four shots of Appleby. Singh got up-and- down for birdie on the par-five 15th. He then made the first birdie of the day on the 16th to close within two shots.
 
Appleby, who was inside Singh on the 16th green, could only manage a two-putt par. He did the same at the next hole, as did Singh, sending the two to the last hole with Appleby ahead by two.
 
Both men hit huge drives on the 663-yard closing hole on the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort. The duo both missed the green short to the right.
 
Appleby pitched his third within 15 feet of the cup. Singh, electing to putt from the fairway, nearly rolled home a monstrous eagle putt, but his effort narrowly slid by the right edge.
 
Appleby, who led the field this week averaging 27.5 putts per round, calmly two-putted for par and Singh's tap-in birdie meant only that he finished one- shot back instead of two.
 
'Vijay hadn't really made much at all on the front nine, but I did realize that Vijay was never going to go away,' said Appleby, who claimed $1,060,000 for the win. 'It was looking like the cards were falling my way with him missing and me making a couple.
 
'By the same token, I knew I just had to do my own thing. Then Vijay closed in with some birdies, some very good birdies. I didn't make any mistakes. Eventually to my benefit, he ran out of holes to really catch me, and I just had to really play smart coming in in pretty trying conditions all day.'
 
'I didn't get a lot going on the front nine, you know, I played it two-over, and you can't do that,' said Singh. 'I had a lot of chances but Stuart played really well. He made the putts that he needed to and he deserved to win.'
 
Singh, who had nine top-two finishes last season, gave it a go on the 72nd hole, but his putt just missed on the right edge.
 
'I just said give it a go, you never know,' said Singh, who played the three par-threes in four-over par. 'The putter took a lot away from me this week, but I thought it owed me one. The putt looked good for a long time, but it broke away at the end.'
 
Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen shared fourth place at 15-under-par 277. The $275,000 paycheck for Woods put him over the $40 million mark for career earnings with $40,052,265. He is the first golfer to reach that plateau.
 
Kirk Triplett finished alone in sixth place at 14-under-par 278. Adam Scott finished one stroke behind him at minus-13. Scott Hoch closed with a 72 to end at 12-under-par 280.
 
Davis Love III, who bombed a 476-yard drive on the 18th hole Sunday, the longest drive of the week, shot a 72 on Sunday to share ninth place with Ben Crane at 11-under-par 281.
 
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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.

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    Woods fires shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.


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    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.