Date: August 04, 2008

Appleby storms into second

A fast-finishing Stuart Appleby has narrowly missed victory at the prestigious WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron. The Australian fired a closing 68 to fall one shot short of champion Vijay Singh at the Firestone Country Club. Singh also shot a two-under-par 68 on Sunday to close the tournament 10-under the card. His 270 total was good enough to win by one stroke from overnight co-leader Lee Westwood and Appleby. Phil Mickelson, who had also started the day with a share of the lead, slipped back to a tie for fourth place with Retief Goosen after finishing with back-to-back bogeys. Appleby&aposs countryman Peter Lonard was tied for sixth, three shots off Singh, courtesy of his fourth-round 66. They were the leading duo of 13 Australians to make the cut. Robert Allenby shot into a tie for 20th at on the back of 68 as he finished one-under-par for the tournament, a stroke better off than Nick O&aposHern (71). Richard Green (67) and Aaron Baddeley (68) enjoyed solid ends to the week but couldn&apost break into the top 40. Adam Scott bookended the event with rounds of 69 and 68 but a pair of disappointing scores on days two and three cost him any chance of victory. He was tied for 56th, 12 places higher than Geoff Ogilvy (72). Appleby said he liked his chances standing over his birdie putt at the final hole. “I felt very confident, really had this feeling I was going to make it,” Appleby said. “I liked it all the way, I guess until I saw it stop. I guess I hit it as good as I could have without it going in.” Although disappointed that the win eluded him in his 29th performance at a World Golf Championship, Appleby agreed that his performance this week was his best to date this year. “I&aposd say with the mixture of a poor start and now this finish, it&aposs the best tournament I&aposve had this year.” “I think if I can keep playing like this, that&aposs sort of what I&aposll keep doing.” “It&aposs just a matter of maintaining my swing and maintaining my thoughts mentally. I&aposm very sure good things will come from it.” Fijian Singh, however, was the toast of the town after recording his first triumph since taking the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2007. This success, his 32nd on the PGA Tour, makes him the most successful international player of all time after passing Englishman Harry Cooper. Nerves were frayed for all three co-leaders, England&aposs Westwood playing alongside Singh in the final pairing of the day, with Mickelson of the United States playing one group in front alongside Appleby. Singh was in front at 10-under with two holes to play, one shot ahead of Westwood, Mickelson and Appleby. Mickelson found the trees to the right off the 18th tee and then a bunker front and left of the green, from which he reached the right fringe 25 feet from the hole. His par putt missed to send him to eight-under while Appleby just missed his 18ft birdie putt, tapping in to finish at nine-under and leaving Mickelson out of the running. Singh began the last with a one-shot lead and he had a birdie putt to win from 26 feet but left it short by around four feet. That gave Westwood a chance to force a play-off from 16ft but he pulled his putt wide and Singh needed to hole out from just three-and-a-half feet for victory, which he duly drained. Fourth Round, PGA Bridgestone Invitational -10: Vijay Singh 67 66 69 68 -9: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 70 66 67 68, Lee Westwood 70 65 67 69 -8: Retief Goosen 66 71 68 67, Phil Mickelson 68 66 68 70 -7: Darren Clarke 70 71 65 67, Peter Lonard (Australia) 69 66 72 66 -6: Paul Casey 70 71 68 65, D.J. Trahan 69 67 70 68 -5: Miguel Jimenez 70 66 70 69, Mahan Hunter 71 66 70 68 -4: Chris DiMarco 68 70 68 70, Dean O Hair 68 67 73 68 -3: Chad Campbell 68 71 68 70, Daniel Chopra 67 74 66 70 -2: K.J. Choi 73 67 70 68, Zach Johnson 67 68 72 71, Steve Lowery 75 67 70 67, Ian Poulter 70 68 69 71, Henrik Stenson 73 70 68 67 Also: -1: Robert Allenby (Australia) 71 70 70 68 E: Nick O Hern (Australia) 70 68 71 71 +1: Brendan Jones (Australia) 69 73 69 70 +2: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 79 69 66 68, Richard Green (Australia) 72 73 70 67 +5: Rod Pampling (Australia) 69 71 75 70, Adam Scott (Australia) 69 76 72 68 +7: Scott Strange (Australia) 68 74 73 72 +9: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 71 67 79 72 +10: Brett Rumford (Australia) 75 70 76 69 +17: Craig Parry (Australia) 70 75 75 77