Appleby finished T4 in the modified stableford tournament where a final hole eagle could have vaulted him to victory.
Playing in the last group, Appleby came to the reachable par-five 72nd hole three points behind clubhouse leader Chris Stroud and knowing he needed nothing less than an eagle three to have a chance to win.
The scoring system awards eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie, nothing for a par and deducts one point for a bogey and three for a double bogey or worse.
Appleby hit a perfect drive to set up the eagle possibility but before he could hit his second shot, the players were called off the course because of lightning in the area.
A 45-minute delay followed and while it will never be known what might have otherwise happened, the break certainly didn’t seem to help Appleby who went on to make a par when play resumed.
His 41-point total for the week was good for a share of fourth place and while the victory would have been sweeter, the performance has given Appleby some hope of keeping his PGA Tour card.
The 20-year Tour veteran has had only limited status this year after losing his playing rights at the end of 2016 and was facing even less playing opportunities next year.
However, his top-five finish moved him from outside the top 200 on the FedEx Cup to 189th, a crucial shift as it gives him entry into the upcoming Web.com Finals series which will award 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018 season.
Not only is the move up the standings good news but after a difficult year in which Appleby has made only three other cuts in 14 starts, the good play will boost his confidence heading to the end of the season.
Only one full field event remains on the 2017 PGA Tour schedule, the Wyndham Championship, which will be played in two weeks’ time.
At the conclusion of that event, those ranked inside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup earn a place on the Tour next year while those finishing 126-200 head for the Finals Series.
Those four tournaments will see the PGA Tour players join with those finishing 1-75 on the secondary Web.com Tour money list to do battle for 25 main Tour cards.
Also likely taking their place in those fields will be Matt Jones, whose T59 finish dropped him to 140th in the standings, Brett Drewitt, who clung on to 193rd with a T45 result, and Cameron Percy who missed the cut to slip to 140th.
2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, playing 2017 on a career money list exemption after losing his full status last year, began the week 121st on the FedEx Cup but now holds the unenviable positon of ‘Bubble Boy’ having slipped to 125th courtesy of a T54 result.
Defending champion Greg Chalmers finished inside the top 20 courtesy of a four-birdie blitz on the back nine Sunday while Peter Lonard, a late inclusion in the field, finished alongside Curtis Luck and Ogilvy at T54.
Aaron Baddeley was the last of the Australians to play the weekend and was 64th alone, Robert Allenby and Steven Bowditch joined Percy in missing the cut.
WEEKEND PINS - 13TH AT PELICAN WATERS:
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