Campbell rises to top, Appleby folds

Originally Published: March 21, 2004
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Playing with Arnold Palmer for two days must have rubbed off on Chad Campbell.

The quiet Texan didn't hitch his pants, wink at the gallery and swing from the heels. He didn't sling his visor into the gallery when the final putt dropped.

Still, his Sunday charge at the Bay Hill Invitational did Arnie proud.

"I never counted him out," Palmer said.

Campbell rallied from a four-shot deficit with 11 holes to play, closing with a 6-under 66 that was so flawless that he had a birdie putt on every hole.

"Playing with Mr. Palmer the first two rounds, and being able to be out on the 18th green with him after it's done was quite special," Campbell said.

It was a fiasco for Stuart Appleby, on the short end of a 10-shot swing over the final 11 holes. He finished with a double bogey for a 76 and wound up six shots behind.

Ditto for John Daly, whose bid to qualify for The Masters took a small hit with a wild finish -- double bogey, eagle, bogey, triple bogey -- that knocked him from a tie for third into a tie for 10th.

As for Tiger Woods?

He was trying to become the first player to win the same event five straight times, but left Bay Hill with a different record -- the first time in a regular PGA Tour event that he shot over par three days in a row. Woods closed with a 73 and tied for 46th, his worst finish in five years.

Campbell won for the second time with the kind of golf that shows why he's one of the rising stars in golf. He finished at 18-under 270 and earned $900,000.

"Looking back now, I can't even think of a poor shot he hit in two days," Appleby said. "Great golf."

Without Woods going for a fifth straight title, Bay Hill was missing some of its buzz. That changed with Campbell's incredible charge, and the theatrics of Daly.

Campbell put pressure on Appleby with back-to-back birdies to close out the front nine, then was rock-solid the rest of the way as the Aussie eventually self-destructed.

Daly made more memories at Bay Hill. The guy who once made an 18 on the par-5 sixth hole, and shot 87 a few years later, was poised to finish third until he hit out-of-bounds into a TV compound, recovered with an eagle, that let that get away by hitting a drive off a TV truck and then into the water.

"There's not many guys who could make five doubles and a triple and still finish in the top 10," Daly said, although his math was a little off -- he only made four double bogeys and a triple bogey this week.

Still, it was costly. A tie for third would have moved him well into the top 50 and secured a tee time at Augusta National. He still is No. 9 on the PGA Tour money list, and the top 10 after next week get into The Masters.

Campbell already is in The Masters, and might be considered among the favorites.

He won for the second time in his last 10 starts -- he also won the season-ending Tour Championship, giving him two victories against strong fields.

His performance was so sterling Sunday that Campbell never had to chip. He missed only four greens, but was on the fringe and still putting for birdie.

"I really didn't have nothing to lose," Campbell said. "I was just trying to hit at every pin. My ball-striking was good enough that I could do that."

Woods hit into the water on No. 6 -- his fourth straight day with a penalty shot -- and had his worst finish since a tie for 56th in the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational, the year before his streak began.

"I feel like having a nice little beer right now, and I should be fine," Woods said.

Appleby's game looked solid, and he even had some luck on his side, as he kept his lead at four shots and threatened to turn Bay Hill into a runaway.

Despite a comfortable margin, the Aussie boldly went for the green in two on the par-5 sixth. It bounced off to the right and was headed for trouble when it ricocheted off a woman's head, dropping on an upslope and leaving Appleby a relatively harmless chip. He got up-and-down for birdie, his lead back to four.

Two holes later, a nice walk on a beautiful day in Florida turned into a grind.

Campbell stuffed his approach into 10 feet for birdie on No. 8 to make up one shot, and a two-shot swing on the next hole really turned up the pressure.

Both players were in the trees. Campbell, from the left side, punched out and watched his ball roll up the fairway to 30 feet from the cup, which he poured in for birdie.

"Just chipped a 5-iron and got it running," he said. "It ended up working out perfectly."

From the right side, Appleby hit into the bunker and made bogey.

"The tide really started to move," Appleby said.

Appleby lost his lead on the 11th when he went bunker-to-bunker for another bogey, then fell behind for the first time in 27 holes when he three-putted the par-3 14th. And when Campbell holed his birdie putt on the next hole, he suddenly had a two-shot lead with three holes to play.

Divots: Campbell became the first player to come from behind at Bay Hill since Phil Mickelson won in 1997. Appleby also finished second that year. ... Vijay Singh shot 76 and has not finished in the top 10 since his streak ended at 12 at Torrey Pines. Singh's cause was hurt by a 9 on the par-5 sixth hole, where he hit two balls into the water and three-putted. ... Daly, best known at Bay Hill for the 18 he took on No. 6 in 1998, birdied the hole all four rounds. ... Woods has had only five worse finishes than a tie for 46th, all of them between 1996-99. ... In Campbell's two PGA Tour victories, Bay Hill and the Tour Championship, Woods finished 18 shots behind. ... Charles Howell III has shot 71 his last six rounds at Bay Hill. ... Prince Andrew will attend The Masters. Augusta National is named for Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg -- an 18th century relative of Andrew, the Duke of York. Prince Andrew is captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press