Emerald Coast Classic
Emerald Coast Classic
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Duval wins his first tour title to join son in winner's circle

Like father, like son -- finally.

Bob Duval, overshadowed by son David in recent years, posted his first professional tour victory today, defeating Senior PGA Tour money leader Bruce Fleisher by two strokes in the Emerald Coast Classic at The Moors Golf Club in the Florida Panhandle.

"I got the big ol' monkey off my back," said the senior Duval. "To win one tournament out here is unbelievable ... against these players."

Duval completed his victory then watched on television as David won The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach for his 10th victory in his last 33 PGA Tour starts to move to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.

That made the Duvals the first father and son to win tour events on the same day.

"I think he's No. 1 now, don't you," the proud father said when he got word his son had won. David was 1998's top money winner on the PGATour and is this year's leader after winning $900,000 today.

As the elder Duval watched the trophy presentation on television, he wiped tears from his eyes before toasting their victories with champagne.

Both were leading going into the final round and talked on the phone the night before with the son offering advice to the father.

"He just said 'Go out and play. You can't control anything that happens out there except what you're doing,' " the elder Duval said.

Duval led throughout the $1.1 million event, beginning with a 9-under 61, only one stroke off the Senior Tour record set by Asao Aoki in the 1997 Emerald Coast. He followed with a 68 Saturday and hung on with a final-round 71 for a 10-under total of 200 on the Scottish style par-70, 6,784-yard course.

Buzz Thomas was third at 204. No one else threatened.

Duval, who won a career-best $165,000, had a two-stroke lead going into the last hole and knew all he had to do was make par on the par-4 18th, which he did, to win. He hit the ball over the flag stick and onto the back fringe of the green before putting in.

"After I rolled it back down there like that I had tears in my eyes," Duval said, knowing he had victory in his grasp. "I didn't know how to react."

Victory has been a long time coming for the senior Duval. A teammate of former U.S. Open and PGA champion Hubert Green at Florida State in the late 1960s, he spent most of his career as a club and teaching professional. His PGA Tour career earnings were only $1,283 with a best finish of a 19th-place tie at the 1982 Tallahassee Open.

Duval joined the Senior Tour in 1997, earning $500,000 with a best finish of second in the Pittsburgh Senior Classic. He was second there again last year, earning $734,573 for 1998, while his son was dominating the PGA Tour.

Fleisher was playing in his first tournament since being hospitalized with a viral infection after finishing second Feb. 15 at the GTE Classic in Tampa. He won both of his previous tournaments, giving him the best-ever start for a Senior Tour rookie.

Despite failing to win, Fleisher was happy for the Duvals' accomplishment.

"It's great for golf," Fleisher said. "Golf needs it. It needs it bad. ... It makes one wonderful story."


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