Appleby: Snead's feat more impressive
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - Stuart Appleby understands the scrutiny that might come with shooting a 59 on a par-70 course.
The Australian won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday and became the fifth PGA Tour player to hit golf's magic number. His milestone came less than a month after Paul Goydos had a 59 at the John Deere Classic.
Appleby was the first to reach 59 on a par-70 course; Goydos' course was par 71. The three other 59s were on par 72s: Al Geiberger at the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational and David Duval at the 1999 Bob Hope Classic.
"Look, I'll debate it with you. I agree,'' Appleby said. "I can see both sides of the fence. It is a number. I shot that number. But who says par is supposed to be 72? There's a lot of great courses that aren't 72.''
Golfers had raved about an Old White course that already yielded J.B. Holmes' 60 and D.A. Points' 61 on Saturday, and Jeff Overton's 62 on Friday.
Appleby was Points' playing partner in the third round. On Sunday, it was Appleby's turn - and he could sense something different.
"I felt relaxed today,'' he said. "I walked a bit slower than I normally do. I'm a pacey sort of person. Not in playing, the golf sense, but from an energy point of view. Today, I felt much more - I slowed myself down and just, yeah, it was pretty comfortable.''
The 59 broke the course record of 60 set by Sam Snead in 1950 and matched by Holmes. Appleby said Snead should be given more credit because of the equipment used 60 years ago.
"I know the course was shorter, but he was probably using one ball," Appleby said. "I think I would have to shoot a 56 to even compare to something like that, for sure.
"The 59, I guess it's not a true 59 from a par-72 sense. But I think Sam Snead's got a few - a little bit more of a skill level than I have. I saw his card in the locker room this week and I'm sitting there going, 'Hey, I'm adding this up doesn't to ...' and you know, it did.
"It was just phenomenal. Then there's a club, the ball and the club, and you're like, 'How'd he do that?'"
He remained the buzz of the golfing world Monday.
Making just one bogey all week, Appleby birdied the final three holes, then watched third-round leader Overton's long birdie try on the par-3 18th slide just past the cup to give Appleby a one-stroke victory.
Appleby's 11-under round put him at 22 under. Overton, playing three groups behind Appleby, shot 67 to finish at 21 under.
Appleby's switch earlier this year from a conventional putting grip to a left-hand low approach finally paid off.
"I was a little tired of the way I had been putting conventional,'' he said.
He made some long putts with the new grip at the Tavistock Cup exhibition matches in Orlando, Fla.
While his putt on the 18th hole wasn't that long - a hair inside 11 feet - observers marveled at his composure and execution.
Mark Wood, a top 100 teacher for Golf Magazine, remarked: "Mind coaches will have a field day with Appleby's amazing putt, because Appleby demonstrated to perfection how to execute despite suffocating pressure.
"He showed how to stay in the moment and stick to your routine, no matter the situation."
His putter was more common than most players use - a $99 Odyssey White Hot XG 330 model, one Odyssey doesn't even make anymore.
But that, and the new putting style, was plenty good for him.
"I'm like, 'man, that speed was beautiful,'" he said. "The transition, I've never done anything quite like that, so [it's] a bit out of the blue for me.''
Doug Smock contributed to this report.