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Like Son, Bob Duval Takes Emerald


Like father, like son -- finally.

Bob Duval, overshadowed by son David in recent years, posted his first professional golf tournament victory Sunday, defeating Senior PGA Tour money leader Bruce Fleisher by two strokes in the Emerald Coast Classic.

That made the Duvals the first father and son to win PGA championships on the same day.

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

His son, 1998's top money winner and this year's leader, completed the family sweep by taking The Players Championship at hometown Ponte Vedra Beach while his father was winning at The Moors Golf Club in the Florida Panhandle.

"I think he's No. 1 now, don't you," the proud father said when he got word his son had won.

Then he watched the trophy presentation on television, wiping 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 Senior event, beginning with a 9-under 61, only one stroke off the senior 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 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, Fleishewas 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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