H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Monday, January 11, 1999

Duval flirted with
four-day Tour record

KAPALUA, Maui -- In an 11-month span, Hawaii golf fans have seen two of the greatest rounds in the storied history of the PGA Tour.

Last February, John Huston set the four-day Tour record with a startling 28-under-par effort at the United Airlines Hawaiian Open on the Waialae Golf Course.

He broke the 27-under total held by several golfers, including Ben Hogan. That record won't be broken at Waialae because it is now a par-70 for the inaugural Sony Open in Hawaii.

David Duval flirted with that mark during his four-day run at this week's Mercedes Championships at The Plantation Course. He tied the course record held by Steve Pate during Friday's round with a 10-under 63.

His slow start yesterday, plus the strong tradewinds that whipped across the course, kept him from eying Huston's record.

''It never entered my mind,'' Duval said. ''I think maybe when I got to 15 or 14, I think I was six or so clear (of the field). I was like, 'If I birdie in, I'm still short, so don't even worry about about it.' I'm just happy I got the win as much as anything.''

This is only the second time Duval has played the course. As a rookie, he took part in the 1993 Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua. He finished 40th in that event with a four-day total of 298. His 266 total to win this year's event was a 32-shot swing.

''Is that how much it was?'' Duval asked, then shook his dead. ''Don't ask me to explain it because I can't.''

BIG CROWDS: The crowds for this week's Mercedes Championships exceeded everyone's expectations, according to local adviser Mark Rolfing.

''We had about 22,500 people attend the tournament from Monday through Sunday, including 8,000 for today's final round,'' Rolfing said. ''It was better than anyone expected.''

The largest gallery belonged to Tiger Woods. In fact, Duval's following only numbered about 100. As one woman in the crowd put it, ''Tiger has an aura about him the other guys don't have. You find yourself just staring at him.''

Having Woods certainly helped the attendance figures. Rolfing estimated 13,000 people came through the gates over the weekend.

TAKING A BOAT RIDE: Fred Funk, Steve Jones and Jim Furyk will take a five-hour cruise to Oahu on the USS Lake Erie. Funk's kids are too young to go, so his wife will take them to Honolulu the more conventional way.

Jones will bring his wife and Furyk plans to take his girlfriend on the trip. They are leaving today at 9 a.m. and are due in to Honolulu at 2 p.m.

''It's an unusual way to go to the next event,'' Furyk said. ''We're all looking forward to it.''

UNLUCKY 13TH: You don't have to tell Woods the 13th hole wound up being the most difficult during the four-day tournament. After all, he took a triple bogey on it that wound up costing him a likely second-place finish.

The par-4, 407-yard hole yielded only 11 birdies in four days. The 30 touring pros averaged 4.125 strokes on the difficult hole. The only other hole to yield just 11 birdies was the par-4 seventh.

The par-5 ninth was the easiest hole in the tournament. It yielded two of the three eagles shot during the 72-hole event. The pros also managed 59 birdies. The stroke average was a remarkable 4.533.

VERY FORGIVING: There were only five golfers who shot over par during the course of the week. They were Steve Elkington, Jesper Parnevik, Trevor Dodds, Tom Watson and Michael Bradley.

Even though John Cook shot the highest round with an 80 on Saturday, he still finished tied for 22nd at 3-under to earn a nice paycheck of $43,550.

The pairing of Mark O'Meara and Justin Leonard combined to shoot the best final round. O'Meara moved from seventh to a tie for second with a 5-under 68. Leonard's 69 allowed him to jump from eighth to a tie for fifth.

By Paul Arnett

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