Reuters - Mon, 02 Aug 01:20:00 2010
Australian Stuart Appleby won his ninth US Tour title in record-equalling style when he closed with a scintillating 11-under-par 59 at the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia on Sunday.
Appleby became only the fifth player to shoot the magical number in a USTour event as he spectacularly overhauled third-round leader Jeff Overton to seal victory by one stroke.
The 39-year-old Australian piled up nine birdies and an eagle at the par-five 12th, and needed only 23 putts as he finished with a 22-under total of 258 on the Old White Course.
Overton, who had been bidding for his maiden title on the circuit, had to settle for second place after carding a 67 with Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (65) alone in third at 17-under.
"I felt like I've played this well before," Appleby told reporters after ending a US Tour title drought of four years.
"Have I putted as well? Probably not. Today was a purple patch ... By no means do I do this all the time. I had a lot of opportunities, and I made them."
Asked if he felt any extra pressure coming down the stretch with a 59 on the line, he replied: "I felt pretty comfortable, pretty relaxed. It's not a nerve-racking thing to be involved in. It's just an opportunity.
"Today, I did the math. I was chasing Jeff, who was heading towards the finish line. At the same time, I was playing well and had some good pace."
American Paul Goydos was the most recent player to card a 59, in the opening round of last month's John Deere Classic.
Al Geiberger posted the U.S. Tour's first 59 at Colonial Country Club in 1977. The second was registered by Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational and David Duval matched the feat in the final round of the 1999 Bob Hope Classic.
Appleby, chasing his first victory on the US Tour since the 2006 Houston Open, charged into contention with a sizzling outward nine of six-under 28 to lie one stroke off the lead.
His eagle at the 12th, where he struck a four-iron to 12 feet, put him level with Overton, who then edged ahead with his third birdie of the day at the par-four 11th.
However, the Australian again drew level at the 16th before sinking birdie putts from 10 feet on 17 and at the last to seal victory with the most memorable round of his career.
"It is great to do that to win a tournament," Appleby said of his birdie putt on the 18th green. "Not that that was the last hole (of the tournament), but to do that and cap off a low number was very unique."
Appleby finished three groups ahead of Overton but had to bide his time while the overnight leader completed his round.
"A flood of emotions certainly came across me minutes later, what I had done potentially, but what I still had to do," Appleby said. "I had to step away, get back on the range, feel like the golfer again for potentially a playoff."
Overton, whose victory bid stalled with three three-putts, recorded his third runner-up finish of the season.
"I got beat by a 59," the American said. "What can you say? I played great, hit a lot of great shots. You can't win golf tournaments when you putt it that bad."