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2005 Mercedes Championships

Stuart Appleby returns after birth of daughter

Stuart Appleby has been very busy since successfully defending his title in the PGA Tour season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Three days after the big victory in Hawaii, Appleby's wife, Ashley, gave birth to daughter Ella in Melbourne.

"I'm learning how to be sleep-deprived," Appleby said Monday after a practice round at Royal Melbourne for the Heineken Classic. "When I'm sitting around like this, it takes about five minutes to get the head-nods going. It's different, but I'm getting used to it. And I have to say I'm in love with the whole idea."

The PGA Tour star is winless in Australia since the 2001 Australian Open.

"Every player wants to get off to a good start," Appleby said. "I have done that now for the last two years, and I would like to do that for the rest of my life, to get the ball moving and never feeling like you were playing catchup."

The Heineken Classic begins Thursday, with South African star Ernie Els seeking his fourth straight victory at Royal Melbourne in the event that also features Colin Montgomerie, Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Nick Faldo.

"Last year, Ernie blitzed it and stole all the headlines," Appleby said. "If my game shows up like it was in Hawaii, I'll be in contention."


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