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Durant Sets Record Palmer Steals Show at Hope

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The records continue to fall for Joe Durant. Durant finished the fourth round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 29-under-par, breaking the 72-hole PGA Tour scoring record in relation to par.
 
Durant fired a 6-under-par 66 at Bermuda Dunes to take a five-shot lead over Kevin Sutherland and Mark Calcavecchia, who carded round of 67 and 65, respectively, also at Bermuda Dunes.
 
But while the record belonged to Durant, the day belonged to Arnold Palmer.
 
Palmer became the first player since Sam Snead 22 years ago to shoot his age, a 1-under-par 71 on PGA West, a course he designed.
 
Palmer, who won this event five times, recovered from a double bogey at the 16th to birdie the par-3 17th and par the final hole.
 
'I don't think I will give up as long as I can compete and be part of the game,' said Palmer, who, at 18-over, will miss the four-day cut. 'I was kind of getting down with my game and how it's been. Today was encouraging.'
 
At 29-under, Durant is one stroke lower than John Huston, who established the 72-hole record at 28-under in his victory at the 1998 Hawaiian Open, and Calcavecchia, who tied that number in this year's Phoenix Open.
 
Though Calcavecchia didn't break Huston's record, he did better the 72-hole aggregate record set by Mike Souchak 46 years ago. Calc needed just 256 strokes to win in Phoenix; one shot less than it took Souchak to capture the 1955 Texas Open.
 
Durant's aggregate score through four rounds is 259. He's been in the lead since recording a personal best 61 in the second round. Friday, he followed with a solid 67. Saturday, he was a stroke better.
 
Leading by three as the day began, Durant was able to extend his lead by carding six birdies and no bogeys. He tied the 28-under mark by birdying the par-3 7th, his 16th hole of the day. Then, after missing a five-foot birdie putt at the eighth, Durant struck his approach shot from a fairway bunker on the par-4 9th to within 10 feet of the cup; where he rolled in the left-to-right curler for the record.
 
While Durant has played magnificently over 72 holes, he knows there are still 18 more. And with the likes of Calcavecchia, who shot 60 in the second round of his Phoenix victory, behind him, now's not the time to take the foot off the accelerator.
 
'If I can just go out and do what I'm doing I'll be fine,' said Durant. 'I think I need to be in the 60s again to do it.'
 
Said Calcavecchia on his chances of overtaking Durant: 'If he doesn't fill up the pond with his golf balls he's going to win the tournament. He's just too focused on what he's doing.'
 
The PGA West course will play host to Sunday's final round. Two years ago, David Duval shot 13-under 59 at PGA West to overcome a seven-stroke deficit to win the event.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*The 90-hole tournament scoring record is 35-under 325, set by Tom Kite in 1993.
 
*The last time Arnold Palmer shot his age was in a Senior Tour event five years ago. Sam Snead was the last to do it on the regular tour, when, at age 67, he shot 67 in the third round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open, then followed it with a 66 in the final round.
 
*75 players made the cut, which fell at 11-under.
 
*Spike McRoy shot 11-under-par 61 at Bermuda Dunes to set the course record. Jim Gallagher, Jr., originally set the mark with a 62 in 1994. McRoy is in a tie for 15th at 19-under-par.
 
*Scott Verplank shot 10-under-par 62 at Indian Wells to move into a fifth-place tie at 22-under. Six players have shot 62 or lower through four rounds this week.
 
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Phoenix Open!