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Duval Wins Tuscon By Four Shots

When the going got tough, David Duval got back on track.

Duval went through a career's worth of lows and highs in the final round of the Tucson Chrysler Classic, squandering a seven-shot lead and then coming up with two spectacular birdies in the last three holes to win by four.

His 1-over-par 73 Sunday was the highest winning final round on the PGA Tour since Billy Mayfair won the 1995 Tour Championship with a 73. But Duval was nerveless when it counted and finished the 72 holes in 19-under 269.

"I guess the only reassuring thing I said to myself was I was still leading," he said. "Then, when I bogeyed the 14th hole, there again the only thing I could say was, `I'm still tied for the lead.' And I think that really kept my spirits up to not ever fall behind."

Duval, who got his first three titles in three consecutive starts at the end of last season, broke away with a 17-foot chip for birdie on the 16th hole.

"It seemed like he had that look in his eye where he thought he could make it," said David Toms, who tied Justin Leonard for second at 273.

Then Duval sank a 35-foot birdie putt on the treacherous 18th hole to claim his fourth victory in nine tournaments the best run since Nick Price won four of six in 1994.

"Obviously the first one is very special, as are all your wins," Duval said. "But to have what happened today and then to hang in and win. ... This is certainly as rewarding if not more rewarding than the others."

Leonard, Duval's playing partner all four rounds, shot a final-round 70 that included a bogey on the 18th hole.

He caught up at 17-under on the 14th hole and shared the lead on No. 15. But Leonard bogeyed No. 16 when he two-putted after chipping onto the green and Duval made his chip.

"It just shows you how funny this game is and how strange things can happen," Leonard said. "You know, I got right in the middle of it and, unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the putts down the stretch."

Toms closed with a 68, but also bogeyed the last hole.

Tim Herron and Steve Lowery shared fourth place at 275, with Tom Lehman, Andrew Magee and Bob Tway at 276.

The $360,000 winner's share boosted Duval to first on the money list at $533,663. He was second last year with $1,885,308 after winning $1,269,000 in his last three events.

Duval flirted with the record book throughout the first three rounds in this tournament, and was 20-under to start the final round with a seven-shot lead over Leonard. He still led Leonard by six shots as late as the ninth hole.

Duval bogeyed No. 9 and Leonard birdied. He and Toms were within four shots when the threesome made the turn onto the back nine.

But Duval birdied No. 10 while Leonard made par and Toms took a double bogey-6 after a hard-luck shot that hit a sprinkler head and bounced 100 feet over the green. He two-putted after two chips.

The 13th and 14th holes were pivotal. Duval entered them with a four-sot lead and left tied with Leonard at 17-under after losing four shots to par.

Duval triple-bogeyed No. 13, a 406-yard downhill hole with a slight dogleg left, where he hooked his tee shot out of bounds by less than a foot. After hitting another drive, Duval knocked his approach shot over the green and three-putted from the fringe.

On the same hole, Leonard made a 10-foot birdie putt, completing a three-shot swing.

Leonard made up a five-shot deficit in the final round to win last year's British Open, and saw signs that Duval was faltering.

"The little nuances here and there, you could tell David wasn't quite as sharp as he had been," Leonard said.

Leonard caught up on No. 14 with a par while Duval bogeyed.

But Duval steadied himself by parring the 15th hole, got his two-shot edge back on No. 16, and picked up two more shots on the finishing hole.

Written by Mel Reisner AP Sports Writer
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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