Apples regains old magic

Stuart Appleby
Stuart Appleby winds back the clock in Reno. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

There’s life in Stuart Appleby yet.

The Victorian veteran couldn’t quite manage to win the Barracuda Championship today, but his T4 finish proved to the golfing world that the magic lives on.

Appleby, a nine-time winner on the US PGA Tour in a stellar career, has been wracked by mostly back-related injuries for the past two seasons.

Not since the 2014 Barclays Championship has the now 46-year-old’s name even remotely been in contention.

And while he’ll look back at missed opportunities to have climbed even higher up the leaderboard, Appleby had a chance on the final hole to chip in for eagle from 12m and win the modified stableford event.

As it was, his attempt slid by and the effectively inconsequential birdie putt did likewise for the 2001 Australian Open champion to finish at +41 points, three shy of the playoff eventually won by American Chris Stroud after two birdies in extra time.

Another veteran Aussie, Greg Chalmers, made a great fist of his title defence and eventually finish T18 at +32 on the Montreux Country Club course he clearly enjoys in Reno, Nevada.

Brett Drewitt surged home to finish T45 at +25, while Peter Lonard, Geoff Ogilvy and Curtis Luck shared 54th at +21, with the young West Australian saving his best to last with a round of +16 featuring six birdies and an eagle.

Matt Jones finished at +20 and Aaron Baddeley at +16 to round out the Aussie contingent.

Meanwhile, Scott Hend recorded his best WGC finish with a tie for 10th at the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

Hend began his final round in third and was paired with eventual champion Hideki Matsuyama, but couldn’t match his third-round heroics and faded with a closing 73.

Matsuyama, conversely, assumed the FedEx Cup points lead with a Firestone course-record-equalling 61 to charge to his third victory of the season and second WGC event in nine months.

Hend’s five-under total was his best effort in his eighth WGC tournament and good enough to lead the Aussie contingent.

Adam Scott carded a 68, his third sub-par round of the week, to reach four under and T13.

Jason Day signed for a 71 to fall back to T24 at two under, while March Leishman climbed to T41 at three over with a closing 69.

Sam Brazel finished T47 at five over, while Rod Pampling battled home with an 80 to fall to T74 at 19 over.

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