Appleby wins Mercedes Championship

Stuart Appleby defeated Vijay Singh in a play-off to claim his third straight Mercedes Championship title on Sunday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Hawaii:Stuart Appleby defeated Vijay Singh in a play-off to claim his third straight Mercedes Championship title on Sunday. The 34-year-old Australian produced a marvelous bunker shot on the first and only playoff hole to set up the birdie putt that won him the title in Hawaii. Two-time defending champion Appleby looked like he might run away with yet another title when he sank an eagle putt on the fifth hole to lower his score to eight-under par. Meanwhile, Singh made his birdie putt on the 8th hole, and that lowered his score to five-under par. Veteran Jim Furyk tried to keep pace, and with his birdie putt on the 13th hole, Furyk stood at four-under par for the tournament. Furyk shot 72 all four days and joined Appleby as the only player to break par each round on a plantation course that never played tougher. Furyk was at four-under 288 to finish third. Calm approach Then Singh calmly and expertly played his approach on the 16th hole to set up the easy birdie putt. And that is exactly what Singh did, and that gave him a two-shot lead over Appleby, at eight-under par. After Appleby birdied number-15 to tie Singh for the lead at seven-under, Singh played an outstanding approach shot on the 18th hole to set up a tap in birdie. Appleby stood over his approach on that same 18th hole minutes later, knowing he would need a birdie to force a playoff. And the 'King of Kapalua' came through despite the pressure, with a chip onto the green that left him well within birdie range. Appleby would indeed sink that birdie putt, and it was on to the playoff with Vijay Singh. Both players finished at eight-under 284, the highest score to win in the eight years the season-opening tournament has been played on the plantation course at Kapalua. After Vijay Singh missed a birdie putt, Appleby tapped in for birdie to win the tournament. Appleby thus joined Gene Littler (1955-57) as the only players to capture this winners-only tournament three straight years. Appleby became the 15th player in PGA Tour history to win the same event three straight years, and the first since Tiger Woods won the Bay Hill Invitational four straight times starting in 2000. The win was Appleby's seventh on the PGA Tour, earning him a $1.08 million and ensured he added to his collection of Mercedes-Benz sports cars that go to the winner. (AP)

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