Duval Back Former No 1 Fires 63 in Hawaii

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2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- David Duval was playing well enough that he briefly thought about shooting 59. He settled for a bogey-free round of 63 on Sunday in the Sony Open, his best score in three years and another small step toward getting his game back in shape.
 
'Is this my reward?' Duval said as he left the scoring area to see a half-dozen reporters waiting.
 
Duval hasn't had much to talk about lately during an injury-filled slump that has kept him winless on the PGA Tour since he captured the British Open in 2001, a victory which came with a five-year exemption that runs out this year.
 
But he had few complaints about the start of his year.
 
Playing at Waialae Country Club for the first time in 11 years, Duval made the cut with a birdie on his final hole Friday, got through a lackluster round of 72 on Saturday and then looked like the Duval of old under breezy, sunny conditions in the final round.
 
Duval, who shot 59 in the '99 Bob Hope Classic during his ascent to No. 1 in the world, had not scored this well since a 62 in the second round of what is now the Booz Allen Classic in 2003.
 
But that was a round where a lot of putts went in.
 
'This was good golf,' he said.
 
It started with a chip-in for birdie on the sixth hole, the first of five straight birdies that attracted a small crowd, not bad since he was first off at 7:57 a.m. He twice holed putts of 20 feet or more, and had two good par saves from about 10 feet on the back nine.
 
'I've been playing well,' Duval said. 'I finally holed a few putts for a change. I was just trying to make more and more birdies. I'm not one to protect a score. I wanted to keep forcing the issue.'
 
Duval has been battling injuries since 2000, primarily his back, and it flared up Monday before a pro-am round. He played the first round with a brace and was 5 over through the first five holes, then figured out how to stand and swing, and was solid the rest of the way.
 
He finished at 2-under 278, the first time he completed a PGA Tour event under par since he was 13 under two years ago on the friendly courses of Las Vegas.
 
As for the 59?
 
'I thought about it,' he said. 'It was relatively similar to the way I felt at the Hope. I wanted to do it again today.'
 
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