Stuart Appleby returned to Greenbrier sounding like a proud father who'd dropped in to visit on his sons. It has been a year since becoming just the second man ever to shoot 59 on a PGA TOUR Sunday, as well as the first 59 on a par-70 course. His 59 was the fifth overall.
By the sound of it, it won't happen again for awhile. Certainly not at the The Old White TPC, where Appleby reached 22 under in beating Jeff Overton by a shot in 2010.
For starters, the course is 200 yards longer. That doesn't sound like a lot, but the course now stretches to 7,210 yards with the aid of just two par-5s. That alone, Appleby said, it good for adding a few shots to the overall score. He also thinks it swings the advantage back to the longer hitters like Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes, who are both in the field this week.
"This course is absolutely built for them right now," Appleby said. "The course is very long today. It's got to be, I think, between I think three and four shots harder than what it was for us Saturday and Sunday last year compared to today. You know, anyone shooting in the mid-teens I think would be a very good score."
While the course is different, Appleby is very much in the same position he was a year ago, when he entered this event in the midst of a four-year PGA TOUR slump. He entered the event with just two top-10s, then proceeded to shoot 65-59 on the weekend for his ninth PGA TOUR win (and first since 2006). In 2011, the results are similar: Just one top-10.
"You know, at this time last year, I was also very frustrated," Appleby said. "So, [you] just got to understand that the game works in weird ways."
One thing's for sure: He will have a big crowd following him the first two days. He's slated to play with a couple of guys named Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson.
"One [is] a legend of the game and one still becoming a legend of the game," Appleby said. "And me, sort of stuck [as] the sandwich in the middle."
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Stuart Appleby was disqualified Friday for signing an incorrect scorecard -- the Aussie signed for a 3 on the par-4 fourth when he had a 4 on the hole. Of course at 7 over for the week, Appleby easily missed the cut anyway.
Add Stuart Appleby’s name to the list of contenders after the Aussie poured in a 55-footer for birdie on the ninth hole to make the turn in 4 under and move within two of the lead.
Aussies always tend to fare well in Texas events -- the wind, the grasses, etc., are similar to what they’re used to in Australia -- and that’s playing out again here at Colonial.
How good has Appleby been the last three rounds? Well, he has just one bogey -- and 14 birdies -- over his last 27 holes. And remember, he shot a final-round 59 to win at The Greenbrier last year.
Stuart Appleby has won the Shell Houston Open twice (1999, 2006) but he will be fighting to make the cut after carding a nine on the par-4 fifth.
Appleby smacked his first two tee shots into the water left of the fairway on the 480-yard hole. It's easy to do -- the yardage dares players to cut the corner -- but two of Appleby's drives landed in the lake.
Appleby, hitting five, found the fairway with his fifth shot and eventually holed out for a nine, dropping him to near the bottom of the leaderboard.
Prime scoring conditions has the field going low, but Stuart Appleby is losing spots left and right. He began the day just three shots back, but four bogeys in five holes has him all the way down to 3 under for the tournament. At this rate, he's going to have a very early tee time on Sunday.
STUART APPLEBY: Scorecard | Shot Tracker
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Tavistock Cup, which since 2004 has been an interclub match between Isleworth’s and Lake Nona’s golf professional members, will have a different look this week.
For the first time, four clubs will compete for the Tavistock Cup, with 24 players involved in the competition. The first round of the two-day tournament at Isleworth Golf & Country Club begins in less than an hour (10:50 a.m. ET).
Monday’s format will consist of six matches of four-ball ( see schedule below). Tuesday’s competition will be singles matches.
Isleworth and Lake Nona will be two of the clubs in the competition, along with Albany and Queenwood. Albany is a new luxury resort community in The Bahamas and Queenwood is an exclusive private members’ club in the Surrey countryside near London.
Tiger Woods, fresh off his final-round 66 that bumped him up to 10th place at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on Sunday, will compete for Team Albany. Reigning U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell leads Team Lake Nona ( team rosters below).
Tavistock Cup contestants play for prize money, team hole-in-one prizes and the title of World Golf And Country Club Champion.
The two-tournament will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel starting at Noon ET.
|TEAM ALBANY||TEAM ISLEWORTH||TEAM LAKE NONA||TEAM QUEENWOOD|
|Arjun Atwal||Robert Allenby||Ross Fisher||Thomas Bjorn|
|Ernie Els||Stuart Appleby||Retief Goosen||Darren Clarke|
|Trevor Immelman||Brian Davis||Peter Hanson||David Howell|
|Ian Poulter||J.B. Holmes||Graeme McDowell||Soren Kjeldsen|
|Justin Rose||Sean O’Hair||Henrik Stenson||Paul McGinley|
|Tiger Woods||Lee Janzen||Oliver Wilson||Adam Scott|
MONDAY’S FOUR-BALL MATCHES
|1||Arjun Atwal-Tiger Woods (Albany)||Thomas Bjorn-Adam Scott (Queenwood)|
|2||Robert Allenby-Stuart Appleby (Isleworth)||Peter Hanson-Henrik Stenson (Lake Nona)|
|3||Ian Poulter-Justin Rose (Albany)||Retief Goosen-Graeme McDowell (Lake Nona)|
|4||Brian Davis-J.B. Holmes (Isleworth)||Soren Kjeldsen-Paul McGinley (Queenwood)|
|5||Lee Janzen-Sean O’Hair (Isleworth)||Ross Fisher-Oliver Wilson (Lake Nona)|
|6||Ernie Els-Trevor Immelman (Albany)||Darren Clarke-David Howell (Queenwood)|
● DIFFERENT CONDITIONS, DIFFERENT PUTTER: With the move to the Florida Swing -- and Bermudagrass -- a couple of weeks ago, Ian Poulter decided to change his putter, moving from a Rife putter to a Scotty Cameron, which he'll continue to use this week at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
"I just fancied a change," Poulter said. "From time to time you just need to change."
The major difference between the Scotty Cameron and the Rife putter is that the Cameron has tiny grooves on the face and the ball comes off the club faster than the Rife -- something that's important on greens rolling at only a 10 1/2 or 11 on the Stimpmeter at TPC Blue Monster at Doral.
"It feels like it's rolling pretty good," Poulter said. "It's just different so I have to get used to it. I'll give it a couple of weeks." -- Brian Wacker
● MAGIC WAND: Rory Sabbatini beamed about his new TaylorMade Ghost 770 putter after winning The Honda Classic. Sounds like it will be as much of a fixture as his new wide-brimmed hats going forward.
“You know, it's actually quite bizarre. I've never quite had as much confidence in a new putter as I have in this one. After picking it up last week down in México and hitting a few putts with it, right away it just felt amazing to me,” said Sabbatini, who ranked T2 in putts per round at PGA National.
“Was doing a little bit of work with it during the week, but obviously not using it during the tournament; and then getting here this week and doing some practice with it, it really just felt phenomenal. I can honestly say I think it was probably one of the smartest decisions I've ever made in my golf game.”
As for how the putter arrived in time for the Honda, that’s a story in itself. Check it out here.
● BACK-TO-BACK: Not only did TaylorMade score with Sabbatini’s putter saga, it also got a second consecutive TOUR win with the R11 white driver.
● DELOFTING: Last week’s high winds at PGA National meant some one-off changes in bags, including Stuart Appleby using a Callaway RAZR Hawk driver with 7.5 degrees of loft, lower than his usual. He finished in a tie for 10th.
● UPGRADE: As David Dusek wrote on Golf.com, Zach Johnson has the new Titleist ProV1x in his bag this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He had been using the 2009 model.
● FREE STUFF? MAYBE: Remember last year when Callaway ran a promotion where buyers of a new Callaway driver could get it free if Phil Mickelson won the Masters? Srixon is getting into the act this year with a golf ball giveaway centered around Graeme McDowell’s chances at Augusta National. Read about it here.
Of course you might recall that Mickelson did win at Augusta, and consequently Callaway ended up giving away more than a million bucks’ worth of drivers. –John Schwarb
What’s been the biggest obstacle to low scores here in the opening round?
”Mother Nature was probably the biggest obstacle in shooting 5‑ or 6‑under par,” said Stuart Appleby, who is in the clubhouse at 2-under 68.
If there’s someone who knows how to play in the wind, it’s Appleby, who grew up playing in Australia. Not that it makes any easier.
“I guess maybe one of the secrets was I was not thinking about that too much. I knew it was pretty difficult,” Appleby added. “Still doesn't make you feel comfortable. Very difficult to sort of get your lines on tee shots; one minute you're hitting driver, and the next day you're hitting hybrid off the tee, or less.
“Putting was very difficult today. There was definitely some breeze pushing the ball, a lot of grain on the greens. But just ‑‑ it was tough. Played all right. I wouldn't call it brilliant, but I guess just consistent enough where I didn't get on the wrong side of dropping a shot every 30 minutes, which you easily could do.”
Spencer Levin, who is one shot clear of Appleby and in the lead for now, took it a step further, saying that the par-5 third hole was “the only birdie hole on the whole course.”
Levin made three more birdies on his round, but the point is well taken.
“I think you just have to be prepared to know that you're going to have to get a few balls up‑and‑down,” Levin added. “That's kind of the way it is, no matter how you play.
“You get kind of in a par mode really where you just have to kind of take what the course gives you. If you hit a good drive, you don't want to get too cute and try to go at a pin that you might shouldn't and then make a bogey because you know pars are going to be a good score.”
Judging by the wind, which has been consistently blowing in the 20-plus mph range, talking about par isn’t rhetoric either.
“It was blowing so hard me and J.J. [Henry] were saying, you could feel on 18; the fountains were I don't know how far behind the green, but you could feel the mist almost on the third shot,” Levin said. “It was blowing hard out there, it really was.” -- Brian Wacker
MARANA, Ariz. -- No one will have played in all 13 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championships when the opening matches get under way on Wednesday.
Three players have only missed one, though, and are playing in their 12th this week. The answer to that trivia question? Well, you’re right if you said Retief Goosen, Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington.
Another nine players have played in 11 Accenture Match Play Championships. But only six of those players are competing this week – Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Robert Allenby, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood.
Among the players missing are some pretty interesting names in Vijay Singh, Stuart Appleby, Justin Leonard and David Toms, who won the 2005 Accenture Match Play Championship. The first three have played 11 times previously while Toms has made 10 starts.