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Kemper Open
TPC at Avenel
Potomac, Md

4th - 7th June 1998

Par 71 Prize Money $2.0 million

Final Round Report

Appleby masters blustery TPC to win by one-shot

Associated Press

Potomac, Md. 7th June 1998 - Stuart Appleby said he was a good wind player and proved it Sunday, staying upright for a 72 to win the Kemper Open by one stroke over Scott Hoch on a day when all other challengers were blown off the leaderboard.

Appleby finished at 10-under-par 274 on a blustery TPC at Avenel, with Hoch at 275 and five players at 278, including Fred Funk, who led after each of the first three rounds.

"It was so windy and firm and fast out there today," Appleby said. "I knew the back nine was going to be tough and that there would be a lot of wedges to 30 or 40 feet and two putts for par. I just stayed patient."

The 27-year-old Australian stepped to the 17th tee at 10-under with Hoch in the clubhouse at 9-under after he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 70.

With the wind whipping at his pants, Appleby played a bold shot on the water-guarded 195-yard par-3 to within 5 feet, but missed the putt that would have all but wrapped up the tournament.

Playing the final hole knowing he needed par for his second PGA Tour victory, Appleby rose to the occasion as he had all day, despite a light rain that started as he walked off the tee.

A solid long iron from 214 yards put Appleby safely on the green, and all he needed to do was two-putt from 15 feet to win.

"That iron on the last hole was the day," he said.

No one's fortune was tossed about more mightily than Funk, who shot a 77 to finish at 278 along with Mark O'Meara, Brad Fabel, Clark Dennis and Tommy Tolles.

Funk, a local favorite who grew up in Maryland, lost all hope early when made bogeys on the first and third holes and then had a triple bogey on No. 4, driving into the water.

Appleby, meanwhile, played steady golf in very difficult conditions, playing deft knockdown shots under the wind as he balanced two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and had two bogeys and a birdie on the back side.

"In today's weather, you more save your round than create your round," Appleby said after the handled the wind on Saturday. "I grew up in the wind. It doesn't bother me that much. I think it's going to be better for me if it's like this tomorrow."

He was absolutely correct.

Of those who started the final round within four strokes of the lead, Chris DiMarco shot a 79, Tolles had a 74 and Dennis shot a 73, as did Fabel.

Only O'Meara, who closed with a 69, and Hoch with a 70 broke par among the contenders.

Tolles squandered his chance when he wisely laid up on the par-5 sixth hole, but then hit his third shot into the water and made a double bogey. DiMarco stayed into the hunt until he made a 5 on the par-3 ninth hole, missing the green and then three-putting.

And Fabel got into contention with an eagle of the par-5 13th hole, but made three bogeys in the last five holes.

Appleby, who now lives in Orlando, Fla., won more than $1 million on the PGA Tour last year and is rapidly emerging along with Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk in that group of great young under-30 players just a notch below Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson and David Duval.


Final Round Scores

Third Round

Woods Withdraws