Appleby hoping to get back on track

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Defending champion Stuart Appleby is set to return to the scene of one of the greatest victories of his career.

Defending champion Stuart Appleby is set to return to the scene of one of the greatest victories of his career.

Last year at the Greenbrier Classic, the Australian won the tournament with an incredible 59 in his final round, and though he is hopeful of rediscovering some form this week, he doesn’t expect the same kind of fireworks this time around.

Since that victory, Appleby has had only one top-10 finish in 28 events and made only eight cuts in 2011, but the good memories from being at White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia last year for this event are still with him.

“There’s no doubt places do have vibes. I’d love for this place to be the same way for me,” said the 40-year-old, whose 59 was only the fifth such score in the history of the PGA Tour.

“I haven’t really been happy. I just haven’t really had a lot of confidence in where the ball has been going.

“Last week (at the RBC Canadian Open) I played well Friday but the problem is I’ve been leaving too much work one of the two days to try and make the cut.

“I feel I’m a better player than that and just struggling to do that this year. It’s been frustrating.

“But at this time last year I was also very frustrated. You just have to understand the game works in weird ways and if you can be really patient, it will pat you on the back.

“It just doesn’t come up and put its hand around you. I think this week is that.”

Appleby will have a much tougher Old White Course to deal with this week than what he experienced last year. The course has been lengthened and the fairways narrowed; the rough is thicker and the greens much firmer.

“The course is nothing like last year. It’s got to be three or four shots harder,” added Appleby.

“There’s a lot of golf course out there now. I don’t see 59 there. Anyone shooting lower than a 65 has had a very good round of golf.”

Appleby tees off on Thursday alongside Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson, fresh off his superb showing at the Open two weeks ago.

“One’s a legend of the game and one is still becoming a legend of the game – and me sort of stuck in the middle,” joked Appleby.

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