Even a 62 wasn’t enough for David Duval to get the spotlight alone in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Even a 28 on the front nine wasn’t enough to steal the show from Tiger Woods, who once again displayed an awesome sense of the dramatic.
And even Duval’s 54-hole score of 18-under-par 198 - by four strokes a tournament record for three rounds - wasn’t enough to shake off Mark O’Meara, who once again showed his mastery of the Monterey Peninsula.
“I just kept hitting it close,” Duval said after finishing Saturday’s third round three strokes in front of O’Meara and Jim Furyk and four better than Jesper Parnevik.
“Before I knew it, I looked up and I was 8-under after seven holes,” said the 25-year-old Duval, who is winless in 70 tour events. “From then on I just tried to get out of my own way.”
Had Duval’s putter not failed him slightly on the back nine, he would have been looking at a 59 - a score matched only twice in the history of the PGA Tour.
The 62 matched the Pebble Beach course record set in 1983 by Tom Kite, and the 28 missed the PGA Tour nine-hole record by one stroke.
Woods thrilled his massive gallery with a 63 at Pebble Beach in which he missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole and had “three brutal lip outs” - putts that spun out of the hole.
“Realistically, to win I’d have to shoot another round like I did today,” said Woods, who was seven back at 205 along with Steve Elkington. “And then it would still depend on what David did.”
With Woods’ track record for rising to the occasion - two holes-in-one in three victories in 10 pro events - no one is counting him out.
The man Duval is concerned about in today’s final round is O’Meara, who has won this tournament four times since 1985.
“M.O. is on the board and the way he plays here, you’d almost have to say he’s the frontrunner,” Duval said.
O’Meara shot a third consecutive 67 - this one at Pebble Beach - and was at 15-under-par 201 along with second-round leader Furyk, who had a 69 at Pebble Beach. Parnevik was at 202 after shooting a 67 at Spyglass.
“All week long I’ve kind of had this feeling that things were going my way,” O’Meara said. “I feel like there is a guy up there watching over me on the Monterey Peninsula.”
The astounding thing about Duval’s round, in which he had six birdies and two eagles, was that he had no putt of more than 8 feet.
Duval hit a 7-iron to 2 feet on No. 1, a 3-wood from 231 yards to 8 inches for eagle on No. 2 and a sand wedge to 3 feet on No. 3 for birdie. After a par on No. 4, he hit a 6-iron to 6 feet on No. 5, a 5-iron on the par-5 sixth hole from 202 yards to 6 feet for an eagle and a sand wedge to 8 feet on No. 7 for birdie.
“I’ve never been in a situation where I played seven holes and was more under par than the holes played,” Duval said with amazement.
Duval birdied both par 3s on the back nine, hitting a 4-iron from 202 yards to 3 feet on No. 12 and a 7-iron on the 209-yard 17th to 3 inches.
Duval missed four birdies of less than 12 feet in one five-hole stretch on the back nine.
“You don’t really think about shooting 63,” Duval said. “It just happens.”
O’Meara, 40, started with three birdies on the first four holes, then made nine consecutive pars before making a bogey on the par-5 14th hole.
“That kind of got me ticked off,” O’Meara said.
He made birdies on the next three holes, the middle one coming on a 45-footer on No. 16.
Duval, like Kite in 1983, shot his 62 under modified rules in which the players were allowed to improve their lie - even in the rough - because of wet conditions.
Asked what he would say to those who said the 62 was tainted because he could improve his lie, Duval said: “Let them come out and do it.”
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