bob hope classic
bob hope classic
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Duval shoots 59 to win

Click here for Duval's score card and stroke by stroke breakdown

LA QUINTA, Calif. Behind those wraparound sunglasses and his similarly cool demeanour, golf's hottest player was pumped.

David Duval hit a magic number today -- a round of 59 that matched the best score in PGA Tour history.

Duval, uncannily accurate in every phase of the game, surged from seven strokes off the pace to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic by one stroke for his ninth victory in his last 28 PGA Tour events, a stretch that began with three consecutive wins in October 1997.

When he rammed his 8-foot eagle putt dead-center into the cup on the final hole, the usually stoic Duval let go, pumping his arm several times, then raising both arms in celebration.

The only other PGA Tour players to shoot 59 were Al Geiberger at the Memphis Classic in 1977 and Chip Beck at the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational. Two Nike Tour players -- Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay III -- shot 59s in 1998.

Duval's 13-under-par 59 -- the best closing round in PGA Tour history -- gave him the five-day tournament title with a total of 26-under 334. He had rounds of 70, 71, 64 and 70 before making his charge.

Duval said he was "a little juiced'' coming down the 18th fairway, and that he could feel the adrenaline pumping as he floated a 5-iron close enough to the pin to give him a good chance at an eagle.

Asked if his unusual show of emotion on the final green was about as excited as he's been, Duval grinned and replied, "Gee, I wonder why? I'm kidding. Oh, yeah, I was more excited about the score -- I'm not going to sit here and lie to you -- than having a chance to win the golf tournament.

"I certainly had aspirations of winning, but the 59 was first and foremost in my mind. It was kind of a double bonus.''

Then it was back to reality for a while. Despite his astonishing round that included 11 birdies and one eagle, Duval had to wait as Steve Pate, playing in the day's final group, finished.

After going to 25-under with a birdie on No. 16, Pate parred the final two holes, lipping out an 18-foot birdie try on No. 18 that left him one shot behind.

Duval shot 31 on the front nine and 28 on the back at the 6,950-yard Arnold Palmer course at PGA West. Afterward, the fact that he matched the PGA Tour record hadn't really hit him yet.

"I am two or three hours from believing that I shot a 59,'' he said, shaking his head. "It was just something where everything is going your way.''

His irons, especially, were going his way -- straight at the pin.

Duval kept nailing approach shots within 2 to 6 feet of the cup, leaving him, in his words, "kick-ins'' for birdies.

At the end, he needed every one of the birdies and the eagle to beat Pate.

Pate was one shot off the lead heading into the last round, and he wasn't able to keep pace with the streaking Duval despite shooting a 66.

"I heard David had a 59 when I had about two holes to go,'' Pate said. "I knew he was at 26-under, and I knew I had to make birdies. I played better than all but one guy.

"I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Duval said, "In a sense, I feel bad for Steve because I absolutely stole the golf tournament from him.''

Winning for the second time in as many Tour outings this year and for the ninth time in his last 28 tournaments, Duval began the final day of the 90-hole Hope 13-under, seven shots behind leader Fred Funk. But Funk slipped back into a tie for fourth with a 71.

John Huston finished third, shooting a 66 to finish at 24-under, and Bob Estes had a 68 to tie Huston.

After posting five birdies on the front side, Duval recorded six birdies on the first seven holes of the back nine. That run was capped at the par-4 16th hole, where he landed his approach within a foot of the cup. He tapped in to get to 24-under for the tournament, tying for the lead after trailing all week in the five-round event. Duval, last year's leading money winner on the PGA Tour, then saved par with a five-foot putt at the par-3 17th to set up his heroics on 18.

Pate, playing several groups behind Duval, needed to birdie the 18th hole to force a playoff. He hit his second shot in a greenside bunker, then took three to get down to make par, missing a 15-foot putt for birdie.

Click here for Duval's score card and stroke by stroke breakdown

DIVOTS: Duval, who won the season-opening Mercedes Classic by nine shots then took a week off to go skiing, has earned a total of $1,008,000 in his two 1999 tournaments. He set the PGA Tour one-year earnings records with $2,591,031 in 1998. He also is a cumulative 52-under par in two 1999 events. ... Geiberger's record round came in the second round at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, and Beck's was in the third round at the Sunrise Golf Club in Las Vegas in a five-round tournament. Both courses also were par 72.


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