ORLANDO, Fla. – Ken Duke is giving himself chances to win in this bounce-back season, but he arrives for the Arnold Palmer Invitational having endured a couple of disappointments in trying to close out his first PGA Tour victory.
Duke, 43, fought his way into a six-way tie for the lead at the end of the Transitions Championship Sunday, but he missed a 5-foot putt for par at the 71st hole and ended up missing the playoff by a shot.
In the final Sunday pairing at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with a chance to win, Duke got lapped by a charging Phil Mickelson and ended up tying for seventh.
Duke’s swing coach, Hall of Fame teacher Bob Toski, the PGA Tour’s leading money winner in 1954, told his player on the range at Bay Hill Tuesday that there are rewards for getting in contention.
“The more exposure, the more composure,” Toski said. “You’ve got to get yourself under some heat to learn how to close under heat.”
Duke’s a birdie machine this season, ranking second on Tour in birdies made (121). Johnson Wagner (123) is the only player who has made more this season.