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Durant takes Bob Hope Classic

Sets PGA Tour scoring record in process

Posted: Monday, February 19, 2001

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Joe Durant credits his wife with resurrecting his golf career by getting him to quit thinking so negatively. She couldn't have been too happy after learning what her husband was doing the night before the final round of the Bob Hope Classic.

Having negative thoughts, of course.

''I just didn't want to come back here today and talk about how I blew a five-shot lead,'' Durant said. ''That was on my mind last night.''

As it turned out, Durant was worrying needlessly. He never gave anyone a chance Sunday, shooting a final round 65 to not only win the Hope by four shots over Paul Stankowski but set a PGA Tour scoring record.

It was the second win for Durant, who was trying to make a living selling insurance eight years ago when his wife, Tracey, had a talk with him about his attitude and his choice of careers.

''She said 'You're not going to have that attitude. You're going to play hard,''' Durant said. ''If you play bad, I don't want to hear you whining.''

Properly chastened, Durant went out and worked his way through the Buy-Com Tour up to the PGA Tour.

He won the 1998 Western Open and established a reputation as one of the best ball strikers on the tour.

Not until winning again Sunday, though, was all of that validated.

''This almost means more to me than my first tournament because I feel like after I won, things did not work out like I wanted,'' Durant said. ''I feel like I've gone full circle now and I'm back where my game should be.''

He'll get no arguments from the rest of the field after taking command of the Hope with a 61 in the second round and playing bogey-free golf on the final two days to win.

Stankowski, who shot a final round 63, crept within three shots at one point, but the only real suspense on the back nine was whether Durant would break the 90-hole PGA Tour scoring record of 35-under-par set here by Tom Kite in 1993.

He did, making birdies at the 16th and 17th holes before missing an 8-footer for par at the final hole for a 90-hole mark of 36-under 324.

''If I had had a mediocre day today, it could have easily been (Stankowski's) tournament or anyone else's,'' Durant said.

''I was just fortunate that I got in my mind that I had to shoot low today and I went out and did it.''

It was the second scoring record in two days for Durant -- who set a mark for most under par through four rounds at 29 under -- and the third PGA Tour scoring record to be broken this year.

His final round playing partner, Mark Calcavecchia, set the low 72-hole winning mark of 256 last month in the Phoenix Open.

''It's just competitive,'' Durant said. ''We're seeing some of the lowest 36-hole cuts I can remember, too.''

Durant's lead was never in danger as he made seven birdies on the perfectly manicured PGA West Palmer course that yielded a final-round 59 to David Duval two years ago.Stankowski, playing a group in front of Durant, made the biggest move of the day, but was only able to gain two shots with his 63.



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