Appleby finishes strong but can't get over top

Early deficit too much for Australian to overcome

Notebook

June 05, 2000|By Sam Borden | Sam Borden,SUN STAFF

POTOMAC - Stuart Appleby looked like the master of his domain on the last two days at the Kemper Insurance Open, but it wasn't enough to overcome the hole he dug for himself during the opening rounds.

The Australian, who won the Kemper at TPC of Avenel in 1998, was a birdie short of equaling his own course-record of 63 on Saturday, and charged hard yesterday before falling short with a 68.

Appleby, who finished in a tie for seventh at 9-under par, rediscovered his magic of two years ago in the third round when he made five birdies and an eagle for his 64. Three birdies in the first five holes on the back gave him hope, but the margin was too wide.

"I was going as hard as I could," said Appleby, who told his caddieyesterday that he needed to post another 7-under performance to have a chance.

"It would have been an awesome finish with all those birdies, but I just didn't get enough."

Appleby was also bolstered by compatriot Greg Chalmers' performance. Chalmers, the left-hander known as "the Snake" on tour in reference to his last name, started the day at 8-under and got off to a spectacular start with four birdies in the first five holes to slither into the lead at 12-under.

He was a victim of his own venom by the end of the day, however, bogeying nine after finding the water, then making nine consecutive pars on the back nine.

Even as he was competing, Appleby found himself pulling for Chalmers.

"I said to my caddie, `If I don't win, I'd want him to win,' " Appleby said.

"The guy's hungry, and sometimes you can be too hungry and get in your own way. But ever since I've known him he's been a good player and just needed to break through."

Clark's record day

Cool temperatures, cloudy skies and nary a breath of wind are the recipe for a course record, and yesterday at Avenel nearly produced all of them.

In his first year on the tour, Michael Clark has struggled mightily - until he strung together seven birdies and an eagle yesterday, tying the course-low of 63. His lone bogey came on the par-4 fifth, but that was followed by a glorious 3 on the par-5 sixth.

For the Buy.com Tour veteran, the back nine was his zone - five birdies over the last seven holes was the key to a closing 30, giving him his best round as a professional.

The round was a financial windfall for Clark, who had previously earned just over of $77,000 in 10 events this year. This week, he earned $30,262 for his tie for 20th.

Miscellaneous

After nearly holing a putt to force a playoff, Steve Lowery was left with a four-footer to separate himself from the five other players at 11-under. After carefully lining it up, Lowery yanked the putt left, costing him $144,000, which was the difference between the $324,000 he would have made for finishing in second alone, and the $180,000 he made for finishing tied. ... The announced attendance of 55,000 is a record for a Sunday at the Kemper. ... Tom Scherrer is the fifth first-time winner on the tour this year, joining Kirk Triplett, Darren Clarke, Jim Carter and Robert Allenby.

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