Long Time Coming

Coloradan David Duval posts his best finish ever on PGA Tour Champions — and his first top-5 in a PGA Tour-affiliated event in 14 years

By Gary Baines – 6/2/2024

The last time Denver-area resident David Duval had posted a top-5 finish in a PGA Tour-affiliated tournament, Apolo Anton Ohno was getting ready to lace up his short-track speed skates for the last time en route to becoming the U.S. Winter Olympian with the most medals ever.

That was a long time ago.

But on Sunday, Duval returned to the thick of contention at a Tour-affiliated event. The 52-year-old shared the lead on the front nine after going eagle-birdie and ended up tying for third place at the PGA Tour Champions’ Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

It marked Duval’s first top-10 in 46 starts on the Champions circuit — and his first top-5 on a PGA Tour-operated circuit since he placed second at the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February 2010, the month the 2010 Winter Olympics were also held. (Note: Duval has posted some top finishes with his sons at the PNC Championship team event — including a victory in 2016 with stepson Nick Karavites — but that’s not an official Tour event.)

In Des Moines, Duval went 67-65-67 for a 17-under-par total and ended up four strokes behind champion Ernie Els. Duval three-putted his final hole from long distance; otherwise, he would have finished solo third.

“I mean, look, the reality is I haven’t done squat out here in two years-plus,” Duval said on Saturday, prior to the final round. “I’ve (had) glimpses of really good play. It’s nice to have back-to-back rounds that are more reflective of how I feel I’m playing, and we all know that you don’t always put up those scores.”

The Principal Charity finish was quite a jump from Duval’s previous best finish on PGA Tour Champions this year — a 30th place.

“It was nice,” Duval said on Saturday. “It’s nice to have some butterflies, some excitement, and recognizing the adrenaline that comes with it with the distance you start hitting golf balls at times. … Just kind of being in that mode where your chin’s up a little bit better, you’re looking at your scores, you’re making good scores, you’re making good decisions and good shots. That’s a lot of fun when you put in the time for 30, 40 years.”

Of course, Duval is no stranger to success. He won 13 times on the PGA Tour and was the No. 1-ranked player in the world for a period. But all of those Tour victories came in his 20s — the last one coming at the 2001 British Open. He had four top-10s, including two runners-up, from 2009-11 after going without a top-10 on Tour from 2003 through ’08.

For the week in Des Moines, Duval carded two eagles, 17 birdies and four bogeys.

For all the scores from the Principal Charity Classic, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates