Appleby fires, Henley wins, McIlroy baulks, Woods walks

Stuart Appleby had his second top 10 for the year at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens
Stuart Appleby had his second top 10 for the year at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens

STUART APPLEBY was the best performed Aussie golfer on the US PGA Tour on the weekend with his T8 finish at the 2014 Honda Classic in Florida.

Appleby’s 5-under 65 in the third round at the tough PGA National course helped put him in contention at 7-under going into the final round but he was among a number to stumble on a strange final day.

The 42 year old lurched home with a string of bogies on the front nine to finish with a 2-over 74 on a tournament total of 5-under.

At that time 5-under seemed way off the mark with tournament leader Rory McIlroy seemingly cruising at 11-under with a two stroke lead.

But after the 6th hole things started to go awry for McIlroy as well, with four bogies and a double before fighting back with a birdie on the last.

All the main contenders around McIlroy were stumbling as well, clunking chips, missing short par putts and taking advantage of the numerous opportunities on this course to put the ball in the water.

In the end, the top four players finished on just 8-under, including eventual first hole playoff winner Russell Henley (72), fellow American Ryan Palmer (69), Scotsman Russell Knox (71) and McIlroy (74).

Henley was delighted with what was his second PGA Tour win.

“This isn’t going to sink in for a while,” the 24 year old said.

Earlier, Tiger Woods had walked off after the 13th hole citing lower back issues. That made it two in a row for this tournament losing a world No.1 after McIlroy infamously walked off last year, later claiming the problem was a painful wisdom tooth. Woods says he will have daily treatments trying to be back in action next week.

Adam Scott was the next best placed Aussie on Sunday, finishing on 4-under tied for 12th. Scott would be reasonably pleased with his consistent rounds of 68, 69, 70 & 69 after his six week break from competitive golf ahead of his US Masters title defence next month.

John Senden failed to capitalise on his 7-under 63 in the second round, finishing with a 72 tied for 46th on even.

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