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Stuart Appleby hits a 630m drive for charity

Stuart Appleby is accustomed to watching his drives take off, but he usually doesn't use an airport runway to accomplish the feat.

On Monday though the Australian golfer teed up on Sydney International's runway 16L-34R to beat three other stars of the game with a drive of 630.58 metres - a record of sorts that won $5 000 for charity.

"It's still softer than the fairways at the British Open," quipped Appleby as his ball bounced and rolled down the 2438-metre concrete fairway as part of the Longest Drive Competition organised in the run-up to this weekend's Australian Open.

Appleby currently ranks fifth on the US PGA's list of longest drives with a wallop of 395 metres.

In Monday's charity contest he beat fellow Aussie John Senden, who was a snip behind at 622.98 metres, while New Zealander Michael Campbell came in third with a drive of 603.44 metres.

Australian Peter O'Malley didn't fair so well.

Considered one of the game's straightest hitters, O'Malley missed the 60 metre wide runway in his first attempt before managing a credible 581.07 metres.

Sydney Airport Corporation closed the runway for an hour to allow the four players to tee off.

Appleby, ranked 17 in the world, and the highest player in the Australian Open, was presented with a cheque for $5 000, which he will donate to charity.

"I'm hoping for a bigger cheque on Sunday, but it's a nice start," said Appleby.

The Australian Open carries a $270 000 first prize.

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