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Olazabal earns second green jacket

Sunday, Apr. 11 8:04pm ET
Duval's charge comes up short
Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- No need to measure David Duval for a green jacket just yet.

The world's top-ranked player came to The Masters on a major roll, having already won four tournaments and almost $2.6 million this year. But his first major title is still an unfulfilled goal, scuttled at Augusta National by an erratic wedge.

 David Duval
David Duval had just six pars during a wild round Sunday that was the best of the day.

Duval had the best round of anyone Sunday, a 2-under-par 70 in ruthless conditions, but it was only good enough to tie for sixth. The 3-under 285 left him five shots behind winner Jose Maria Olazabal.

"I came in playing well. I came in thinking well," said Duval, one of only seven players to break par amid the swirling winds and slick greens. "But I failed to quite put it all together."

Duval's scorecard looked more like a Christmas tree, filled with the red and green numbers that Augusta uses to note the non-par scores. The man who prides himself on calm, consistent excellence endured a roller-coaster of a round that included an eagle, six birdies, six pars, four bogeys and a double-bogey.

"I would certainly not expect to do that normally," he said with a sigh.

Duval, who began the day six shots back at 1-under, moved onto the leaderboard with an eagle at No. 2 and birdies at 7 and 8. The gallery began to swell when he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at 10 to move 5-under -- only two shots off the pace.

"I felt I was in very good position heading into the back nine," Duval said. "But some poor shots and some untimely mistakes really hurt me in the end."

Duval's first miscue came at 11, the lead hole in Amen Corner.

He cut his tee shot and landed wide of the fairway on the right, 200 yards away. The flag was placed in a perilous position -- the back, left corner of the green, just a short roll from the pond -- so he pulled out of a 4-iron and tried to play the safe shot to the right.

Instead, the ball sailed left, bouncing a couple of times before it rolled off in the water. Duval took a penalty, followed with a poor chip past the hole and two-putted for a double-bogey.

"I just failed to pull off the shot I was trying to hit," he said. "Then, with the wind coming from the right, there was only one place the ball was going to go, and that was the water."

Duval redeemed himself with a brilliant 3-iron at the par-5 13th after his tee shot sailed into the tree, lodging against a pine cone. From that awkward position, he knocked his second shot on the green and two-putted for birdie, pulling back into contention.

Then, his wedge let him down, contributing to bogeys on three of the next four holes. His second shot at 14 sailed to the far reaches of the green, leading to a three-putt from 50 feet. At 17, he plopped down short of the green, was forced to chip on and two-putted for another bogey.

"I pride myself on being a good wedge player," he said. "But I failed to perform with those in a big way this week."

Duval managed only one par on the back nine, his erratic card looking like it belonged to someone like John Daly: birdie, double-bogey, par, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey, birdie.

Duval had played the two previous weekends prior to Augusta, winning both The Players Championship and the BellSouth Classic. As it turned out, that may have zapped his strength at The Masters.

"It's tough to think you're going to win that much," he said. "As we all know, winning takes more out of you than finishing 25th or 30th. But I felt my preparation was what it needed to be. I came in here obviously playing well. It just didn't quite happen."

After finishing tied for second at the 1998 Masters, Duval was the clear favorite to win this time. It was a role he knew was deserved but accepted with trepidation.

"It's sometimes unfair to say one player should win an event," Duval told a reporter. "You can pick whoever you want every week, and I'd take the field and bet you everything you want every week. Odds are, you're going to lose."

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