Monday, December 12, 2016

David Duval ends long win drought as Team Duval captures PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Kevin Casey,
ORLANDO – It took 5,509 days. Yes, 5,509 days for David Duval to win again after capturing the 2001 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan.
Who would have guessed that?
Everything that happened in between, from injuries to financial hits, all got pushed further in the past on Sunday as Duval, Open champion at Royal Lytham in 2001,  emerged on top again.
Duval and stepson Nick Karavites fired a 10-under 62 Sunday at the PNC Father/Son Challenge backing up an opening 61 that earned the pair a one-shot overnight lead.
The follow-up proved just enough as the duo edged Team Funk (Fred and Taylor Funk) by a single shot at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes for the win and a total grand prize of $200,000.
That money’s got to be pretty sweet. But there’s nothing like a victory after a 15-year drought.
“It’s wonderful (to win again),” Duval said. “Wonderful to have the feelings. The nerves of really paying attention to what you’re doing, executing the golf shots and picking your lines.”
Watching Duval and Karavites this week, they didn’t seem to play with the weight of stepdad’s lengthy drought. Duval said that six weeks ago he felt he and Nick would have a good chance to win here no matter who was playing. He was right.
Instead of worrying after Team Funk jetted to 10 under early in the first round Saturday, Team Duval simply went one shot lower. The duo slept on the lead and then came out Sunday and birdied the first three holes.
The pair would be caught at times (by the Funks, Team Langer, Bernhard and Christina, and Team Daly, John Daly and Little John Daly) as the final round progressed, but it kept pressing. Team Duval would birdie seven of their first nine to go out in 29 and retain the solo lead, and would start the back with three birdies in five holes to move to 21 under overall and a three-shot lead.
Four pars to finish got the job done.
Duval’s career is well chronicled – former world No. 1 and major winner (2001 Open Championship) who became beset by injuries and hasn’t come remotely close to his world beater ways of 15+ years ago – but what about Karavites?
The 23-year-old Karavites first met his future stepdad after Duval and Karavites’ mom, Susan Persichitte, started up together. Karavites was 9 and essentially became best friends with Duval from the start.
“I probably asked him a million questions. I was a golf fan before I met him,” Karavites said. “I mean, David Duval, right? It was crazy.
His mom, now Susan Persichitte Duval, would marry Duval soon after (in 2004) and a golfing pair was born.
“We are thick as thieves,” Duval said.
The couple had two children, Brayden and Sienna. Nick is one of three children (along with Deano and Shalene) from Persichitte Duval’s previous marriage. The whole family, aside from Shalene, was on hand for the trophy ceremony Sunday.
Nick competed in the 2012 PNC Father/Son Challenge with Duval, garnering a T-4 finish. He was a strong high school player but said he never tried to play college golf. He would study at Metro State University for a couple of years before moving on to Adams State University for a semester. He never graduated, but he’s already a young businessman.
Karavites said he and other parties are going to buy an existing marijuana dispensary with the idea to open up a dispensary in Denver called the Bloom Corporation (where Karavites would be an owner and manager).
Another somewhat sombre note: Karavites won the PNC Father/Son Challenge a day after his paternal grandmother died.
“He just did it in honour of her today,” said Persichitte Duval. “He played better than I’ve ever seen.”
Duval had to overcome some issues of his own this week. The 45-year-old Duval’s bad luck with injuries hasn’t ceased in 2016. He withdrew from the Open Championship at Royal Troon in July due to injury after making a valiant effort to play in the first place. Duval broke his right wrist and also had right elbow issues that required surgeries for both just four months earlier.
At the PNC Father/Son Challenge, there was nothing to that magnitude but Duval noted he still has tennis and golfer’s elbow, issues that haven’t affected his swing much but do present themselves during competition.
“I play in constant pain,” Duval said. “When you’re in constant pain, it might slow me down a little.”
Still, Duval, now a Golf Channel analyst, isn’t retired from the game, but he didn’t have too many specifics about his future golfing plans. Duval did say he believes he could maintain status and win golf tournaments if he could compete with a full slate.
But a win at the father/son doesn’t change the fact that Duval has virtually no status to get into USA PGA Tour events. He only earned two starts in the 2015-16 USA PGA Tour season, and while he already has one in 2016-17 (a missed cut at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October), he doesn’t think much will change.
Duval could try a few Monday qualifiers. He has in the past, but found no success there, and he’s not particularly inclined toward them anyway.
“Monday qualifiers are an incredibly difficult thing,” Duval said. “If you start bogey, bogey you might as well stop.”
Duval implied the constant pain could play a role in his future golfing plans, too.
Let’s stay in the present, though. Duval and Karavites can say they beat out a hoard of legends, not only the Funks but Retief and Leo Goosen and Stewart and Connor Cink (who all tied for second at 20 under). You can also add Team Langer (T-5, 19 under) to that tally.
Headliners John Daly and Little John Daly put together a strong effort in their opening appearance, as dad and son placed T-8 at 17 under.
“I’m so proud of (Little John),” the elder Daly said. “He (was) clutch all week.”
Duval who owns 13 USA PGA Tour wins, including that sole major title, has plenty of victories to reminisce about. (Did we mention that he not only captured the Players Championship but did so the same day his dad won on the PGA Tour Champions?)
So this win may be special, but where does it rank in Duval’s career? Right at the top.
“This is as good as anything. It truly is,” Duval said. “To be able to come out and compete in a professional event and win and have the whole family here, I’ll never forget it.”

• • •


1. David Duval/Nick Karavites 61-62—123 (-21) $200,000/team
2. Fred/Taylor Funk 62-62—124 (-20) $62,417/team
2. Retief/Leo Goosen 63-61—124 (-20) $62,417/team
2. Stewart/Connor Cink 63-61—124 (-20) $62,417/team
5. Raymond/Robert Floyd 63-62—125 (-19) $48,000/team
5. Steve/Sam Elkington 64-61—125 (-19) $48,000/team
5. Bernhard/Christina Langer 63-62—125 (-19) $48,000/team
8. Mark/Shaun O’Meara 63-64—127 (-17) $45,167/team
8. John/Little John Daly 64-63—127 (-17) $45,167/team
8. Sandy/Stuart Lyle 64-63—127 (-17) $45,167/team
11. Lee/Connor Janzen 65-63—128 (-16) $43,750/team
11. Hale/Steve Irwin 67-61—128 (-16) $43,750/team
13. Nick/Matthew Faldo 66-65—131 (-13) $42,750/team
13. Vijay/Qass Singh 66-65—131 (-13) $42,750/team
15. Lee/Daniel Trevino 68-64—132 (-12) $41,750/team
*15. Lanny/Tucker Wadkins 66-66—132 (-12) $41,750/team
17. Larry/Josh Nelson 70-65—135 (-9) $41,000/team
18. Nick/Greg Price 68-69—137 (-7) $40,500/team
19. Jack/Jack II Nicklaus 71-68—139 (-5) $40,250/team
20. Curtis/David Strange 69-71—140 (-4) $40,000/team

*2015 champion



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