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David Duval finally makes a cut

Although the plaudits went to Robert Gamez after he won his first PGA Tour title in 15 years at the Texas Open on Sunday, the week will perhaps be remembered more fondly by former world number one David Duval.

American Duval strung together rounds of 69, 68, 70 and 74 at LaCantera Golf Club's Resort Course in San Antonio for a one-over-par total of 281, having made his first tournament cut this year.

"It was a cycle that needed to be broken," said 2001 British Open champion Duval, whose previous PGA Tour cut came at the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas last October.

"I've been number one and number 1,000, but I've hit bottom and I'm coming back up.

"Actually I've been playing a lot better than my scores have reflected for the last six weeks," added the 33-year-old after tying for 60th place.

"Each day I seem to hit the highest score I could possibly, the last six or eight rounds I've played. And it was no different this week.

"I've hit it really well, just made a couple stupid mistakes."

Duval's fall from golfing grace has been one of the most documented in the game's history.

In 1998, he led the U.S. money list with earnings of more than $2.5 million. One year later, he became the third player to shoot a magical 13-under-par 59 on the PGA Tour before eclipsing Tiger Woods as the game's number one on March 28, 1999.

Four years ago, he finally clinched his first major after several narrow misses when a closing 67 earned him a three-shot victory over Sweden's Niclas Fasth in the British Open at Royal Lytham.

Since then, however, there have been no further additions to the Duval trophy cabinet. He tumbled out of the world's top 500 and has made just eight PGA Tour cuts in the last three years.

By his own admission, a myriad of reasons were responsible for his golfing slide.

"It's a combination of confidence, patience, health, focus, my mental approach to thinking of how I'm playing and getting my way around the golf course, those kinds of things," he said.

Duval has suffered various injury and health problems, struggling with back and wrist trouble in 2000 and 2001 and from a form of vertigo early in 2003.

At the start of 2002, he broke off his eight-year engagement to fiancee Julie McArthur and even his prodigious driving began to let him down.

He eventually decided to take a break from the game, only returning to PGA Tour action at last year's U.S. Open after a seven-month absence.

Although he missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills after scores of 83 and 82, he now has a completely fresh outlook on the game and his private life, with wife Susie and their four children in Denver, Colorado, could hardly be more secure.

Golf is no longer the be-all and end-all for Duval.

"I have different responsibilities now, a feeling of you found home, you found where you're supposed to be, and that's the biggest one for me," he said earlier this year.

"As much as anything, I would like to be out playing and enjoying the atmosphere. That's the first big step in doing it and continue to work on the things that I'm working on and improve.

"I really don't know how it will work or how I can do it, because I don't really feel I could ever give back to this game and the people involved what it's given to me.

"But I'd like to at least start chipping away at that, because it's blessed me more than I could have ever dreamed."

 

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