Date: August 25, 2014

Grant Report – Appleby rockets back into the big time

Victorian Stuart Appleby emerged from the golfing wilderness with a joint runner-up performance in the rich Barclays Championship in New Jersey and is already eyeing a return to the majors after a four year absence from the grand slam events.

The 43-year-old, whose career had been steadily fading in the US, gave himself a massive shot in the arm when he tied for second with compatriot Jason Day and American Cameron Tringale.

The trio finished 12 under the card and just two shots off the pace of surging winner Hunter Mahan.

Appleby’s stunning form turnaround in the first of the US PGA Tour’s playoff events means he will gain entry into three majors if he can hold onto his confidence in the following two tournaments and finish in the top 30 of the season-long points list.

While he has not played in a major since the 2011 Masters, Appleby’s bright week and closing 65 will give him hope of recapturing his vintage game in the nick of time.

Mahan surged late in the final round at Ridgewood Country Club in Parabus with a blitz of five birdies in his final eight holes to seize victory.

Appleby soared from 98th on the points list to 19th and if he can keep up the pace over the next fortnight in Boston and Denver will play in the Tour Championship for the first time since 2008.

Players who qualify for the Tour Championship automatically get exemptions into the Masters, US Open and British Open the next year.

"I just need to capitalise now," Appleby," told AAP.

"I want to get back to the Tour Championship and then get into the majors and all the stuff I have been out of for a few years now. "If there was good timing for this it was certainly now.

"I have been dreaming of walking up 18 in the Tour Championship for a long time."

Appleby said the aspect which was most satisfying was holding his nerve over the homeward holes, making long and key par putts on the final two to initially post the clubhouse lead.

It was the nine-time US tour winner’s best result since winning the Greenbrier Classic in 2010 where he shot a final round 59.

Since then he had managed just four top 10 finishes in more than four years.

"I have had plenty of times where I have just not felt comfortable on the golf course and really doubted what this game meant to me," he said. "I used to be a top 30 player and I was no longer that guy so I was frustrated, I was saddened, I was bewildered, and I was wondering how do I catch up.

"This week I thought I was lucky to be doing what I am doing and just get out and play.

"If you make a couple of bogeys don’t cry about it because there are 100 guys behind me who don’t have a future set so just enjoy it and go out and make a run in the playoffs.

"Every year there are stories of guys doing it so hopefully I can keep the form going."

Day, the overnight co-leader, held the outright lead after nine holes on Sunday but could only manage a one-under back nine as Mahan surged.

But the Queenslander is certain of a spot in the remaining playoffs as he moves to seventh on the points table.

Adam Scott shot a final round three-under 68 to finish at seven-under overall and tied for 15th in his title defence as well as being 16th on the playoff list.

Steven Bowditch who briefly held the lead on the opening day, shot 69 to finish at five-under and is set to play in the next two weeks while John Senden finished off with a 66 to be five-under for the week, enabling him to maintain his consistency on the FedEx Cup standings.

Geoff Ogilvy, who missed the cut, has managed to hold on to the very last playoff spot moving into next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston but the playoff season is over for fellow Victorians Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley.

By: Robert Grant