Appleby profits from Bland's misfortune

 

Golf:Stuart Appleby ended nearly a decade of waiting for a domestic title when he claimed the JBWere Masters at the Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne with an error-free final round of 65.

Appleby finished one stroke clear of overnight leader Adam Bland on 10 under par, starting the celebrations early for the 39-year-old whose wife Ashley is due to give birth to their fourth child next week.

Bland missed a putt for eagle at the last and with it the chance to secure a play-off as he shot a two over par round of 73. Third, on eight under, went to Daniel Gaunt who shot 71 after starting the day 10 shots off the pace, with Tiger Woods claiming fourth with a 65 which included two eagles on the back nine.

Bland was close to eagle on the first and led by four but bogeys at seven and eight saw him fade and he was joined in the lead by playing partner Gaunt on 13 after he had made up for a double bogey at six with birdies at seven, nine and 10.

A fifth bogey of the round at 14 saw Bland concede the lead to Gaunt, leaving Appleby a threat playing in the group ahead with Andre Stolz. Appleby’s fifth birdie of the round on 17 saw him claim a share of the lead as he closed in on his first title on home soil since the 2001 Australian Open.

A birdie at the last left Appleby three clear of Gaunt whose double bogey at the 16th cost him dear. Appleby’s final round of 59 which saw him come back from seven shots down to win the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour in August provided the inspiration for his Melbourne win.

He said: “I was trying to think today about that round and what I was doing. I was just trying to be that guy.”