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
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
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
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