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Like Son, Like Father at Senior PGA

February 6, 1999

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) _ Robert Duval has a way to go to match his son, but at least he’s trying.

The elder Duval shot a 67 Friday in the Royal Caribbean Classic, leaving him one stroke behind leader Bruce Fleisher after the first round of the Senior PGA Tour event.

Duval’s son, David, is the hottest player on the PGA Tour, winning nine of his last 29 tournaments and shooting a record-tying 59 two weeks ago in the final round of the Bob Hope Classic.

``I had tears in my eyes when David shot the 59,″ said his 52-year-old father, a career club pro until qualifying for the Senior Tour in 1996. ``Any time your son goes in the history books in a sport is something phenomenal.″

While most sons learn from their fathers, the elder Duval adopted some of his son’s look, wearing Oakley sunglasses.

``I thought maybe I’d see something that he saw,″ the father said.

More significantly, he adopted David’s even-keeled disposition.

``I have a tendency to get high and low on the course,″ Robert said. ``I noticed David stays even-tempered at all times. I tried to do that today and it really worked.″

David, 27, won four tournaments last season and led in the money standing at $2,591,031. His father also had a personal-best season, earning $734,573 with two runner-up finishes. Robert Duval is seeking his first professional win.

``I taught him how to play golf, but not the way he’s playing now,″ Duval said. ``I don’t have any problem being in David’s shadow. I was paying his way to junior tournaments so he could get into this position.″

While many siblings of legendary golfers _ Gary Nicklaus, Robert Floyd and Jack Snead _ have paled in comparison to their fathers, the elder Duval harnesses no illusions of living up to his son’s success.

``I beat him once last year,″ Robert Duval joked. ``I’m just trying to make a living and do better than I did. I know he’s proud of me, for what I’ve done, meeting a lot of guys I used to watch on TV.″

Fleisher, 50, was making his Senior Tour debut, He is a local favorite who won one PGA event and nearly $1.7 million over a 27-year career.

``I’m glad it’s over,″ he said. ``There was a lot of anticipation.″

Walter Morgan shared second with Duval, while all-time Senior Tour moneyleader Jim Colbert was another stroke back after shooting a 68 on the Crandon Park Golf Course, tied with Bob Murphy and John Jacobs, winner of the year’s first event two weeks ago.

Morgan practiced with Duval near their Ponte Vedra homes during the offseason. While respecting Duval, he doesn’t fear him.

``I know it’s not his son,″ Morgan laughed. ``I could beat him (Bob).″

Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd, golf’s second and third career moneywinners, were paired together and shot 69s, tied with defending champion David Graham.

Hale Irwin, golf’s career money leader and the Senior Tour’s dominant player, is not in the field.

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