PGA Tour
Wow! Appleby shoots 59 to win Greenbrier



White Sulphur Springs, WV (Sports Network) - Stuart Appleby shot a 59 on Sunday to win The Greenbrier Classic by one stroke, becoming only the fifth player in PGA Tour history to reach golf's magic number.

What did history look like? Appleby was dead-on with an 11-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole, an effort so good under so much pressure that it would have gone in a cup half the size.

Appleby knew it. He raised his putter with his left hand and began to pump his right fist in celebration before the ball even disappeared.

"We spend so much time trying to have rounds like today. Forget whether it's a 50 something, you're just trying to have rounds where you're scaring the hole," said Appleby. "And when you do and they drop, it's a pleasant feeling. You just never seem to get enough of them."

But it wasn't a winning 59 until third-round leader Jeff Overton went par-par over his last two holes to end one shot back, finishing his round about 30 minutes after Appleby.

It was the first 59 by a PGA Tour player carded on a par-70 course and moved Appleby to 22-under 258 for the tournament. The veteran Australian emerged from a four-year winless drought for his ninth tour title, earning $1.08 million.

Overton was 21-under through 16 holes, but couldn't catch Appleby.

Adding to the surreal atmosphere of an electric final round on The Old White Course, Overton's birdie putt at the 17th hole lipped out after it appeared to roll over an obstruction -- possibly a spike mark -- in the green.

He also parred the 18th for a 67 to end alone in second place at 21-under 259.

Amazingly, Appleby's was the second 59 in less than a month on the PGA Tour.

Paul Goydos shot a 59 on July 8 during the first round of the John Deere Classic -- the first 59 on tour since David Duval's during the final round of the 1999 Bob Hope.

Al Geiberger had the first 59 on tour at the 1977 Memphis Classic, and Chip Beck shot a 59 at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational.

Duval and Geiberger won their tournaments and Beck tied for third place. All three of their 59s came on par-72 courses, while Goydos carded his on a par-71 course and finished runner-up to Steve Stricker.

Until Sunday, Duval was the only player to shoot a 59 in the final round to win a tournament. Appleby became the second, and it was a long climb to the top.

He started the day seven shots off Overton's 54-hole lead and began his charge with a scorching six-under 28 on the front nine, making eight consecutive 3s on his scorecard after starting with a par at the par-four first.

Appleby, 39, was so far back at the beginning of the round that when he knocked his 113-yard approach to within inches for a birdie at No. 9 -- his sixth birdie on the front side -- he was still one stroke behind Overton.

He made his only eagle of the tournament at the par-five 12th, hitting his 237-yard second shot to within 12 feet and holing the putt. That moved him to 19-under for the tournament -- and eight-under for the round -- for a share of the lead with Overton.

The 59 watch began in earnest there. Of course, Appleby was just the latest in a slew of players who have made recent runs at golf's magic number.

Appleby played alongside D.A. Points in Saturday's third round as Points made a charge for 59, going 10-under through his first 16 holes. Points' bid ended with a three-putt bogey at the 17th hole.

Several hours earlier, J.B. Holmes birdied his last hole to shoot a 60 -- the third 60 in a month on the PGA Tour. Stricker shot a 60 the same day Goydos got his 59, and Carl Pettersson had a 60 during the third round of the Canadian Open last week.

While those bids fell short, Appleby was able to earn his piece of history with a strong finish.

After he made three straight pars -- including a missed birdie putt from eight feet at No. 13 -- Appleby needed at least three birdies in a row to get to 59.

He birdied No. 16 from 14 feet, moving a step closer. Then he laid up from a bunker to 100 yards at the par-five 17th, the perfect distance for a sand wedge shot. He knocked it to 10 feet and made that birdie putt as well, finally moving one shot ahead of Overton.

Appleby struck his tee shot 11 feet short of the hole at the 18th and looked confident as he lined up the putt. When it dropped, the gallery surrounding the green erupted.

"I felt like I've played this well before," said Appleby. "Have I putted as well? Probably not. Today was a purple patch. By no means do I do this all the time."

Jimmy Walker, playing alongside Appleby, was sure the Australian would make his historic putt.

"I told my caddie, 'No chance he misses it. He's in the zone today,'" said Walker, who shot a 67 to share fourth place with four other players.

"It was cool watching him do that," Walker said. "I've never played with anybody that shot that low. He made everything. It was really cool to watch."

Although Overton made a six-foot birdie putt back at the 16th to climb within one shot, he couldn't find another birdie to equal Appleby.

"Got beat by a 59," Overton submitted. "What can you say?"

NOTES: Ryo Ishikawa, the 18-year-old Japanese star, fired a 58 to win an event on his home Japan Golf Tour in May -- the lowest score ever recorded on a major golf tour...Annika Sorenstam is the only LPGA Tour player to ever shoot 59...Jason Gore, Notah Begay III and Doug Dunakey have carded 59s on the Nationwide Tour...David Gossett and Harrison Frazar both shot 59s during PGA Tour qualifying school, but their scores are considered unofficial...Shigeki Maruyama fired a 58 at a U.S. Open qualifier in 2000, but that number also wasn't eligible for the record books.

08/01 23:08:42 ET