David Duval claims first
David Duval posted a brilliant
final round of four-under-par 67 Sunday to capture the 130th Open at Royal Lytham
& St. Annes. His 72-hole total of 10-under-par 274 earned him a three-shot victory
and his first major championship title.
Duval was one of a handful
of players who came into this event looking to shake the tag of best player without
a major title. He did so emphatically with a sensational weekend, firing a third-round
65 to gain a share of the lead Saturday before his five-birdie, one-bogey effort
over the last 18 holes lifted him to the career-defining win.
Duval two-putted for par
at the 72nd hole to ensure his name would be the next one etched on the coveted
"It's very surreal," said
Duval, who became the sixth American in the last seven years to triumph at golf's
oldest championship. "I never knew where I stood all day. I knew I was probably
in the lead, but I didn't look and never saw it until I was on the green at 18.
"I thought I was either
one or two ahead. I saw I was three and I was just overcome."
Sweden's Niclas Fasth,
who grabbed the clubhouse lead hours earlier with a 67 of his own, finished alone
in second place at seven-under 277. It was his first appearance in a major championship.
On a day that began with
23 players bunched within four shots of the four 54- hole leaders, Duval put a
clamp on any hope of a final-day dogfight with a performance that was as unshakable
as his sunglassed persona.
However, the race to the
finish may have been tighter were it not for the tragic tale of Welshman Ian Woosnam.
The 1991 Masters champion,
tied for the overnight lead with Duval, Bernhard Langer and Alex Cejka, barely
had a chance to celebrate an opening birdie when he was informed he was being
assessed a two-stroke penalty for having one too many clubs in his bag.
After the birdie was changed
to a bogey, a rattled Woosnam dropped two more shots at the third and fourth holes.
Though he regained his composure with some fine play in the middle of his round,
he bogeyed two of the last four holes for an even-par 71 to join a six-way tie
"I did not really get it
out of my head all the way around," said Woosnam, who had two drivers in his bag
to put him over the legal limit of 14 clubs. "I kept thinking if I hadn't had
a two-shot penalty, I could have been leading or been joint leader. I never shook
Two other major winners
finished with Woosnam at 278. 1994 and '97 U.S. Open champ Ernie Els shot 69,
while Langer, a two-time Masters titlist, closed with a 71. Spain's Miguel Angel
Jimenez, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and American Billy Mayfair each had
70s to round out third place.
There were no last minute
heroics by Tiger Woods, who has now finished out of the top-10 in four straight
events for the first time since 1997.
Last year's winner at St.
Andrews pulled within three of the top spot with a trio of birdies on the front
side only to make a mess of the par-three 12th on his way to a triple-bogey.
"I didn't swing the club
very well," said Woods. "I don't care what golf course you're playing, if you're
not swinging the club well it's going to be tough. Unfortunately, I paid the price
for just not having my mechanics the way I needed to have them."
The world's top-ranked
golfer turned in a 71 to tie for 25th at one-under par, his worst showing in a
major since he finished knotted in 29th at the 1997 PGA Championship.
Woods, whose win in April's
Masters garnered him his second green jacket and fifth victory in the span of
six majors, tied for 12th at last month's U.S. Open to end his quest to be the
first to win five consecutive major titles.
Finland's Mikko Ilonen,
the 2000 British Amateur champion, fired a 66 -- the low round of the day -- to
finish alongside Kevin Sutherland (67), Sergio Garcia (70) and Jesper Parnevik
(71) at five-under.
Colin Montgomerie and Phil
Mickelson remained part of that group of stars still in search of the Big One.
Monty, clearly the crowd
favorite this week, lost the halfway lead with a Saturday 73 and was over par
again in the final round. He carded a 72 to finish six strokes off the pace with
seven others, including Vijay Singh (69), U.S. Open victor Retief Goosen (71)
and Germany's Cejka (73).
Mickelson, seven shots
back with Duval, Els, Garcia and Goosen after two rounds, failed to make his presence
felt over the final 36 holes. He wound up tied 30th with, among others, David
Dixon, who was guaranteed the Silver Medal as leading amateur when he was the
only non-professional to survive the cut on Friday.
Fasth was the early story
when he made a two-footer at the par-five sixth for his third birdie of the day,
tying him for the lead at six-under. He was soon alone in front after he birdied
the par-five seventh, then stretched his lead to two with a two-putt birdie at
the final par-five, the 11th.
Duval's 18-foot birdie
at the third trimmed Fasth's edge to one. The two were soon neck-and-neck after
Fasth failed to save par from six feet at 14, then Duval birdied the back-to-back
par-fives to seize a two-shot advantage at nine-under par.
Fasth, who sank some important
par putts over his final four holes, went on to record the biggest of his five
top-10s this season.
"I played very well and
gave it all I had," said Fasth, the 1996 European Tour Qualifying School medalist
who captured his first tournament victory at the Madeira Island Open last year.
Although Duval managed
to push his lead to three strokes after blasting of a bunker to set up a two-foot
birdie at 11, he wasn't in the clear just yet.
Jimenez birdied the 13th
to reach eight-under, leaving him just one off the lead when Duval couldn't get
up and down out of a bunker to save par at the 12th. But the Spaniard found fairway
traps that led to bogeys at 14 and 15, and Duval rolled in a birdie putt from
seven feet at 13 to return to 10-under.
Clarke birdied the 16th
to cut the margin to two, an interesting development when Duval drove way right
at 14. Duval was able to muscle a wedge out of the rough to advance his ball to
the edge of the green, from where he two-putted from about 80 feet for par.
Clarke wasn't as fortunate
at 17. He hit into a fairway bunker and sent his second shot into the grandstand.
After taking a free drop, Clarke knocked a sand wedge into a greenside trap, blasted
out to three feet, then missed the putt and took double-bogey.
Duval, who missed left
of the fairway at the 15th, pulled off some more magic when he landed his ball
18 feet from the cup. Two putts later he had another par, a process he repeated
at 17 and 18 to seal the win.
The 29-year-old Duval came
close to claiming major titles on a number of occasions, most notably the Masters
in 1998, when Mark O'Meara closed with a surge to snatch the title, and the Masters
this season, when Duval bogeyed the 16th and missed a four-foot birdie at the
last to finish in second, two shots behind Woods.
"You get four chances each
year, and you have to have a lot of things go right to even get into a position
to win," said Duval, who collected $858,000 for his 13th career victory. "Then,
you have to do it. There's no way around it."
Email this page to a friend | Return
to top of page