Second place is way down Love's wish list

Runner-up kicks himself for blown opportunities

April 12, 1999|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Nobody has yet to mention anything to Davis Love about a jinx here at Augusta National, a second-place syndrome. Not with Greg Norman still coming close and falling short yesterday at the 63rd Masters.

But Norman didn't finish second to Jose Maria Olazabal.

Love did, marking the second time in the last four years that the former PGA champion has found himself in that position. It's a spot Love would have loved earlier in his career, but not anymore.

After congratulating Olazabal, Love made it clear he was crushed.

"Whatever I say is sour grapes probably, but I'm disappointed I didn't win," he said after a 1-under-par 71 and a four-round total of 6-under 282 left him two shots behind.

Love had his chances, especially after chipping in from behind the green on the par-3 16th, taking the ball over the flag and letting it roll down the hill some 20 feet for birdie.

"When that went in, running up the hill, everyone was screaming at first," recalled Love.

"I was excited and shocked. And then you want them to keep screaming because the guys behind you, you want them to hear something great's happened."

But the cheering for Love stopped as he failed to make any more magic. His last chance came on the par-4 18th, when he had a 25-footer for birdie. The putt was a little longer and on the same line as Mark O'Meara's clinching putt last year.

Love's putt slid by the cup.

Asked if he was more disappointed than four years ago, when he finished one shot behind Ben Crenshaw, Love smiled.

"Give me a 3 1/2-hour drive home and I'll have an answer for you. You don't make as many birdies as I did and expect to finish second. But I'll build on it."

Duval up and down

David Duval came into this tournament as the favorite, poised to win his first major championship and third event in as many weeks.

When he left early last night, he joined a long list of players who failed to put on the coveted green jacket while they were No. 1 in the world.

"I came in playing well. I came in thinking well. I failed to put it quite all together," said Duval, 27. "I think I'm going to come up a little short."

There were still a bunch of players on the course at the time, but at 3-under-par 285, he knew that nobody was going to come back that far.

Duval had made a terrific run on the front nine, catapulting himself into contention with an eagle on the par-5 second hole that put him 3-under.

After a bogey on the par-4 fourth hole and three straight pars, he made a run at the top of the leader board with three birdies in a four-hole stretch ending at the par-4 10th hole.

"I had done the things I wanted to do," he said. "I got on the leader board quick. I failed to keep it going on the back."

The most crucial mistake came on the par-4 11th. With 200 yards to the pin on the downhill, 455-yard hole, Duval hit his 4-iron approach into a tributary behind the green.

Duval, one of the best wedge players on the PGA Tour, then failed to put any spin on his chip. It went 10 feet past the cut, and he missed the putt for bogey.

"I just failed to pull off the shot I wanted to hit, basically," he said of the 4-iron.

"I was trying to hit it out right. For some reason, I turned it over and there was only one place for it to go -- in the water."

Usually one of the most consistent of players, Duval was erratic yesterday. He followed birdies on the par-5 13th and 15th holes with bogeys. He bogeyed the par-3 16th, as well.

"You can say that I haven't done this well or that well, but the thing that cost me wasn't my putting, it was my wedge," he said.

"I'm thought of as a good wedge player, but I failed to perform those in a big way."

Not Woods' day

Perhaps the most disappointing performance of those in contention coming into the day was by Tiger Woods, who shot a 3-over par 75 to finish at 1-over 289, tied for 18th.

"I hit a lot of great shots and lot of ugly ones," said Woods, who played the front nine in 4-over-par 40.

"I feel I played good, but I'm realizing how I hit it bad on the West Coast and made all the putts and on the East Coast I hit it well, but I didn't make anything.

Woods finished one shot behind Jim Furyk, who is now using Woods' former caddie, Mike "Fluff" Cowan.

More honors for Spain

It was a clean sweep for Spain. While Olazabal won the green jacket, Sergio Garcia was low amateur.

A final-round 73 gave the 19-year-old Garcia a total of 7-over 295.

"That's something for your first Masters," said Garcia.

Pub Date: 4/12/99

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