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The world rankings may still have you believe Tiger Woods is the finest golfer on Earth but few people would quibble with the opinion that David Duval is the rightful No 1 after his sensational victory in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in California on Sunday night.

Duval fired an astounding 13-under-par 59 to match the US Tour's best 18-hole score and maintain his phenomenal form of the past 18 months.

It was the best closing round in the history of the tour and, with just three events having been played this season, he is now as short as 4-7 to be the top earner on Tour this year.

The 27-year-old began the campaign a best-priced 5-1 to retain his money-list title he was tipped by Sports Betting's Jeremy Chapman but having won both events he has contested, is now odds-on across the board.

Sunday's stunning success means Duval has now won nine of his last 28 tournaments, including three on the bounce at the back-end of the 1997 season and four last year.

In just nine competitive rounds this year he has earned more than $1m.

Duval began the fifth and final round of the Bob Hope seven strokes behind leader Fred Funk and was available at 40-1 to pull off a victory.

But 17 holes later he held a one-shot lead and was left needing an eagle at the last to record only the third sub-60 round in US Tour history.

He ripped a long drive down the middle of the fairway at the 532-yard par-five, used a five-iron for his approach, rolling the ball eight feet left of the pin, and calmly sank the putt that brought him victory in an event for which he began as the 6-1 favourite.

So punters who took 6-4 with Victor Chandler at the start of the year that a player would break 60 on either the US or European Tours have not had long to wait for a payout, while those who accepted the firm's offer of 1-2 that nobody would achieve the feat in 1999 have had a nightmare.

And the bad news for the rest of the US Tour players is that Duval believes there is better to come.

He said: "I probably can't play better than this. But if you're talking about in general, I certainly can improve and want to improve."