Date: November 21, 2007
Author: Bren O'Brien

Appleby looks for his ‘great year’

Stuart Appleby is adamant his best is not behind him and believes he has a &aposgreat&apos year in him if he can improve key aspects of his game. The 36-year-old described 2007 as &aposnot a great season&apos after failing to register a win on the US Tour for the first time since 2002. “Quiet on the winning front. Always every year I finish I want to play more tournaments at the higher level, at a better level. Turning top 20 into top 10s and top 10s into wins. I&aposd say quiet. That doesn&apost concern me. I just want to make sure that I don&apost make it the norm,” he said. Appleby won two US Tour tournaments for the first time in 2006, after completing a hat-trick at the Mercedes Championship in Hawaii and winning the Shell Houston Open. He wants to get back to that sort of form in 2008. “Winning once a year is nice. I mean it sounds pretty boring compared with what some players are doing, Tiger and so on. I&aposd rate 2007 as average, last year was a good year. I haven&apost had a great year yet. I think a great year is probably multiple wins or winning a major,” he said. For Appleby to take the step to the next level, he believes he needs to be hitting the greens with more regularity. “Probably hit the greens a bit more and then capitalise by making more birdie putts. That sounds pretty obvious but that is probably true. Each feed off each other a bit. Drive the ball a bit better, hit a few more greens. Things like that,” he said. Appleby said last week&aposs performance in Hong Kong was symptomatic of where his game needs improvement. He missed the cut by two shots after creating very few birdie opportunities for himself. “Last week I was terrible at hitting greens. I was great at getting up and down. So I was going nowhere. I was confident that I was putting well, but it was for par, so in your mind it&aposs a shallow victory at every hole. I&aposd say hit the fairways a bit more, hit the greens a bit more and the rhythm of the birdies will flow for there. You can&apost keep being a green or two away from the guys playing well, because you can&apost make any inroads,” he said. The Victorian is hoping that the break he took at the end of his commitments in the US this year will help re-invigorate him ahead of this week&aposs MasterCard Masters in Melbourne. “I&aposd always planned to come back straight after the Presidents Cup and take a pretty substantial break. Something I&aposd never done in my career. That was good. I enjoyed it. I love getting back playing, but I also was like, &aposthis is good not having a job isn&apost it&apos.”