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August 19 2011

7:37 PM

Belly putter aids Appleby

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Stuart Appleby has found answers lately in his game and is close to the top at the Wyndham.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Stuart Appleby's switch to the belly putter this week continued to pay dividends on Friday.

Appleby used 26 putts in the second round after taking 25 in the first. The Aussie veteran has made 10 birdies, one eagle and dropped just three shots to par while moving to 9 under and three strokes off Tommy Gainey's lead.

Appleby said Thursday he was still getting used to the belly putter, which he called "very long and very heavy." He made the switch because he wanted to be more consistent -- and with a win this week could make it three-in-a-row for the non-traditional flat stick.

"My aim has been ordinary of late,” Appleby said. “When your aim is ordinary you screw it up.  I feel like I can get some quality rolls going today. It felt pretty good. Didn't make any bombs but rolled the ball nice and scared the hole as much as I could.
   
"And, again, like I said, solid golf, something I haven't done in awhile. If I can just stay focused and in the moment, get a run through from now on and just go crazy for another month, it will be great."

Appleby said Sedgefield was very different on Friday morning than when he played the previous afternoon. Course management, the Aussie said, was key.

"The rough was still very long but wet in the morning so you really wanted to avoid that, sort of made getting any yardage out of it," Appleby said. "Drove it pretty good. Played pretty good. The course is a good test. …    
"It's tough enough out here where you really need to think about positioning your ball under the hole. There's little slopes kicking off the edges of the greens. Good solid play. Something I haven't been able to say at all for a long time. Nice to be playing on the weekend. It's been a long time."

Appleby has missed the cut in 10 of his last 14 starts. He's also been disqualified once and had to withdraw from the FedEx St. Jude Classic. But Appleby said he felt like he began to find some answers at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational two weeks ago.
 
"Some shots I hit that were like impressive, they felt like the guy that when I play well that was the sort of swings and shots I made," Appleby said. "... I felt like that week in Akron I started to hit a couple sweet shots and on the range, started to feel like it.  That's the beautiful part of the game.
   
"When you do play well and have successful tournaments, those feelings are still there when you do get it right, it lets you know you're on the right track."

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