How do you follow-up a 59 and a win?
Make an unexpected visit to Akron, Ohio.
Last week at the Greenbrier Classic, Stuart Appleby shot the magic number for his first victory in four years on the PGA Tour. He made a left-to-right-breaking 10-foot putt on the 18th hole, punctuating a victory that began with a 7-stroke deficit at the start of the final round.
The Australian is in Ohio this week to compete in his 12th straight World Golf Championships event at Firestone Country Club – a streak that would have ended, if not for his Sunday heroics. He already ended his run of playing in every WGC event – the only player to do so since 1999 – when he didn’t make this year’s Accenture Match Play Championship.
But Appleby said he cared little about streaks and was more concerned with his recent poor play, which led him to miss 11 cuts this season.
“It wasn’t important for me to get back (to Bridgestone),” he said. “It was important for me to get back into form. I didn’t want to miss here. . . but I said, well, okay, off to Turning Stone (this week’s opposite-field PGA Tour event).”
Then, he made the WGC field, after all.
“I just had to refocus,” said Appleby, a runner-up here in 2008. “I thought, I’m getting pushed out of the majors, I’m not in all the world events, and I was becoming a regular, in my mind, of those events.”
The last time Appleby scored lower than 65 was in 2006.
“The 59 is behind me, and it doesn’t happen very often, and I’ll just be getting back to shooting more normal scores,” he said. “Hopefully good ones, but I’m not expecting rounds to be 65 for the next two months or anything like that.”
Appleby knows there’s plenty of hard work ahead.
“You need to develop (confidence) on the range. . . and then you carry that to the course and you make it valid from there,” he said. “You don’t try and find it on the golf course. You’ll never find anything on a golf course.”