Duval overtakes Maggert to win in Georgia

PINE MOUNTAIN, Georgia, Reuters

David Duval birdied three of the final four holes to win his first tournament in nearly 18 months at the $2.3 Georgia Challenge Sunday.

Duval surged past a faltering Jeff Maggert to claim his eighth career PGA Tour victory and first since last year.

Duval, the world’s third-ranked player, fired a 7-under-par 65 Sunday, shattering the tournament record with a 72-hole score of 19-under 269. The US$414,000 first prize eased him into the top 10 on the money list with US$$2,247,746.

Maggert carded a 70 and settled for a second-place tie with Nick Price of Zimbabwe at 17 under 271.

Both ended up surpassing the previous tournament mark of 16-under, set by Hubert Green in 1975 and equalled by Tim Simpson in 1985.

Carl Paulson was four shots back, with Scott Hoch, Joel Edwards and Brent Geiberger tied at 275.

Returning after missing two months with a bad back and playing one group ahead of the leaders, Duval birdied the 15th hole to climb within two shots of Maggert. Duval closed with consecutive birdies and defeated Maggert, who bogeyed the 16h hole for the second straight day and also bogeyed the par-4 17th.

“I just made a few too many bogeys,” said Maggert, who has just one stroke-play victory since joining the PGA Tour in 1986. Last year, he captured the US$1 million first prize at the World Match Play Championships.

Maggert has lost seven of eight tournaments when holding a share of the lead after three rounds.

“It’s surprising to come back this way,” Duval admitted. “This is a spectacular week for me.”

Duval tore up the front nine for five birdies, grabbing a one-shot lead over Maggert, who made four birdies to offset three bogeys.

But Maggert birdied the 10th, 12th and 13th holes, regaining the lead as Duval followed four pars with a bogey at the par-4 14th hole.

Both golfers headed in opposite directions over the final four holes. After Duval birdied No. 15, Maggert bogeyed the 16th. Duval hit a wedge within two feet to set up a birdie at the par-4 17th, then landed another wedge shot four feet from the 18th hole for another birdie. Maggert and Price both stumbled at No. 17, opening the door for Duval.