Stuart Appleby wins PGA tour opener

Stuart Appleby shot a two-under-par 71 on Sunday to win the Mercedes Championships in the opening event on the PGA Tour.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Hawaii:Stuart Appleby went into the final round of the Mercedes Championships on Sunday trying to defend a two shot overnight lead. The Australian had a superb front nine, picking up four birdies which allowed him to open up a six shot lead with seven holes to play. Retief Goosen was in the hunt for a short time. The South African had a long eagle attempt on the 9th hole but his putt came up just short. He shot a level par 73 to finish in a tie for fourth place at 15-under-par. Kirk Triplett finished one stroke behind Goosen and showed the lighter side of golf. After making a long putt for bogey on the 11th hole, he raised his hands and took a bow. The American carded a final round of 70 to finish at 14-under in sixth spot. Tiger Woods sank a long birdie putt on the 15th hole and closed with two successive birdies for a two-under 71 and share of fourth place with Goosen. The drama of the day happened in the final group as Fiji's Vijay Singh, who was in second place at the start of the day, mounted a challenge to Appleby over the closing holes. The Fijian holed from just off the 14th green for the first of three succession birdies. His challenge continued when he curled in another long birdie putt on the 16th to move to 20-under-par and was now just two strokes behind Appleby. Appleby finished with six pars in a row including one on the last when he chipped onto the green from the thick rough. Singh had a chance to force an unlikely play-off if he had holed a 30 metres eagle putt from just off the 18th green. It didn't go down and that allowed the 32-year-old Australian to hole out for a two-under 71 and a one-stroke victory. Appleby, who qualified for the event by winning the Las Vegas Invitational last year, won his fifth career tournament and earned US$1.06 million in the process. (AP)

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