The last time David Duval played at the Byron Nelson Championship in 2012, he was forced to withdraw after an opening-round of two-over-par 72.
This year, he barely even got started, but he’s certainly got to be glad he did.
Back in action for the first time since finishing tied for 25th place at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Duval followed up his best finish in nearly three years with his best round of the season. It was a four-under-par 66 that has him just a shot back of first-round leader Peter Hanson.
This isn’t going to be a gushing “David Duval is back” column. No, it’s obviously far too early for that kind of sweeping prediction. At the same time, it’s becoming clearer not only that Duval was serious about his plans to quit looking for exemptions if he couldn’t earn his full-time PGA Tour membership back on his own, but that he’s not going to take any opportunity to play for granted.
Duval told the Dallas Morning News that he had been battling a sore right elbow, and that as little as 30 minutes before his tee time, he was still wondering if he would be able to play. However, he went to get a pain relieving injection from the on-site trainers, and the pain at least subsided enough for him to get on the course.
The nature of the injury is unknown, so certainly Duval’s future this week is up in the air. Then again, every single round the former world No. 1 plays is potentially one step closer to the ultimate goal of getting his Tour card back. With that kind of motivation and a little positive momentum, Duval’s story is one to keep an eye on tomorrow, and as far as he can take it.