Appleby survives late scare

Stuart Appleby survived a late challenge from Vijay Singh and won the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Stuart Appleby survived a late challenge from Vijay Singh and won the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Appleby led throughout the final round but was made to sweat down the stretch before recording a one-stroke victory in strong winds on Maui’s Kapalua Plantation course.

The 32-year-old Australian shot a steady 71 to finish at 22-under-par 270, while Singh carded a 70. Darren Clarke was third, five strokes off the pace.

Tiger Woods tied for fourth with South Africa’s Retief Goosen at 277 before declaring he would have a long break before starting his 2004 season in earnest.

Appleby claimed $1,060,000 (€825,000) for the biggest pay-day of his career and his fifth PGA Tour triumph. He qualified for this winners-only event by capturing the Las Vegas Invitational last October.

Appleby started the day two shots ahead of Singh and the lead never shrunk until the final hole.

He picked up four birdies and a bogey on the front nine to open a six-shot lead but bogeyed the 12th before Singh reeled off three straight birdies to cut the gap to two shots with two holes left.

Singh missed a golden birdie chance at the 17th, and a birdie at the final hole proved too little, too late as Appleby made a tap-in par for victory.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox