STUART APPLEBY IN GOOD POSITION AFTER 54 HOLES OF GOLF’S WEB.COM FINALS SERIES FIRST EVENT
STUART Appleby wasn’t as sharp on day three of the DAP Championship but the veteran remains in good position heading to the final round of the first of the Web.com Tour’s Finals Series events.
Appleby’s 1-over-par 71 in Ohio dropped him from a share of the second round lead to T4 but with 25 Tour cards to play for over the next month it is an excellent start in his bid to return to the world’s top circuit.
Weather delays on day one carried over to day two with 26 players having to complete their second rounds early Saturday before third round action could get underway.
When Appleby left the course Friday he was T2, one shot behind American Zack Sucher who had two holes to play.
But Sucher gave up a shot at the 17th and when the third round began Appleby was part of a four way tie for the lead with fellow Australian Cameron Percy and Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Scott Harrington.
The nine time PGA Tour winner, who opened with rounds of 66-68, couldn’t quite maintain the momentum over the opening nine holes of the third round where he trod water with two birdies against two bogies.
A third dropped shot on the way to the clubhouse saw the veteran sign for a 71 to be 5-under for the week and three shots off the pace set by the eccentric American rookie DeChambeau.
South Australian Percy fared little better in the third round with three bogies against a lone birdie seeing him fall to T9 at 4-under for the tournament.
Rhein Gibson also went backwards with a 1-over round, the Lismore native 3-under and T16 after 54 holes but only five shots off the pace on a congested leaderboard.
Six of the seven Australians who teed up in Ohio made the cut, Matt Jones withdrawing after a first round 75.
Rod Pampling, who made the cut on the number, fired a 2-under round of 68 to climb 29 places up the leaderboard to T24, the only one of the Australians to make a positive move Saturday.
Fellow Queenslander Cameron Smith dropped five places to T34 after a 2-over 72 while Brett Drewitt fell 16 places to T34 after a 3-over 73.
While the Australians mostly struggled former US Amateur champion DeChambeau posted one of only 17 sub-par scores Saturday to move to a one shot lead.
DeChambeau made a splash at the Masters earlier this year when he was one shot off the pace standing on the 18th tee of the second round before imploding with a triple bogey.
He went on to finish low amateur at the year’s first major but despite finishing fourth the following week in his professional debut at the RBC Heritage tournament was unable to amass enough money to earn membership of the PGA Tour for 2017.
However, the free thinking 22-year-old is eligible to play the Web.com Finals Series and has made an impressive start in the first event with rounds of 64-70-68.
DeChambeau played both the Australian Masters and Australian Open as an invited amateur in 2015, finishing second behind Peter Senior at Huntingdale and T30 at The Australian.
But he impressed all who came into contact with him, not only with his game but also his engaging personality and out of the box thinking.
Using a set of clubs all cut to the same length and an unorthodox, upright swing that is unlike any other at the top level of the game, DeChambeau has quickly gained a cult following among golf fans.
Known by many as ‘The Mad Scientist’, the Californian is set to make waves on the PGA Tour if he can earn one of the 25 cards on offer over the four tournament Finals Series.