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Published: Saturday, 4/7/2001

Only one score matters to Duval - his

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

AUGUSTA, Ga. - David Duval said that if he were a fan, yes, the big-name leaderboard heading into today's third round of the Masters would certainly catch his attention.

“As a player, though, I'm not concerned with any name up there but my own,” he said.

It may be a surprise to some that Duval's name is indeed near the top of the scoreboard considering he was idle for a month prior to the Masters because of tendinitis in his right wrist.

But Duval has put himself into contention for the fourth straight year at Augusta National.

Duval carded a 6-under 66 yesterday and trails leader Chris DiMarco by three shots.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are tied for second, two shots off the pace, and are joined by the likes of Duval, Lee Janzen, Jose Maria Olazabal and Ernie Els, among others, in close pursuit of the leader.

Duval, who birdied three straight holes to close out the front nine, has posted top-six finishes here for three straight years. Thus, he is not surprised by his position.

“I knew my golf game was near where it should be and that I was putting pretty well,” he said.

“I thought I might have to fight through a little rust, but I was able to hop back on the horse.”

Only once did the horse buck yesterday.

With six birdies already on his card, an 8-iron approach to the par-3 16th hole stalled on the right shelf of the green and resulted in a three-putt bogey.

He got the stroke back at No. 18 when he hit a driver-sand wedge combination to the 405-yard hole and stopped the approach shot one foot from the cup.

“My expectations coming in were no different than any other year,” Duval said.

“I came in expecting to win the golf tournament.

“I've got some more work to do. I've been here and had several chances. I'm still trying to get it done.”


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