Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Duval guts out opening round

IRVING, Tex.—David Duval gets only limited chances on the PGA Tour these days—much different than 15 years ago when he was the No. 1 player in the world.
So Duval gutted it out yesterday at the Byron Nelson Championship despite the pain from a muscle issue in his right elbow—a day after his stepson had to drive him because he couldn’t even use that arm.

“I’m just glad I chose to tee off today because I was seriously considering not,” said Duval, who almost withdrew about a half-hour before his round.
Duval, now 42 and ranked 890th in the world, birdied his last three holes (Nos. 7-9) after pitching in from 57 feet for another birdie at the fifth hole.
He shot a four-under 66—a stroke behind leader Peter Hanson and tied with Marc Leishman and Tim Wilkinson.
After a bogey on his 12th hole, the 528-yard third hole, Duval was even par for his round.
He then made the long pitch on No. 5, and a similar shot from 43 feet at the par-five seventh hole started his closing birdie stretch.
He sank putts of three-and-a-half and 17 feet to finish.
“I’m tickled pink it feels as good as it does right now,” Duval said of his elbow.
“I’m not getting to play a whole lot right now and it would have been a hard thing to swallow not to be able to tee off.”
Duval’s arm started bothering him Tuesday when he hit 20 or 30 balls after getting to North Texas, and he managed to play only six holes after having a trainer work on his arm.
He had an injection that night and hit only 20 or 30 more balls Wednesday before he couldn’t even move his arm.
He got more treatment before teeing off yesterday.
As a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, his last victory in the 2001 British Open, Duval has past champion status.
But past champions are 32nd in the line of 36 categories to fill open spots in tournament fields.
“A little disadvantage when you don’t get to play consistently,” Duval conceded.
“But I have the utmost confidence in what I’m trying to do right now, and I feel like I can succeed even with that sporadic schedule.”
Martin Kaymer, The Players Championship winner Sunday, was among eight players at 67 yesterday.

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