Former Timuquana head pro Bob Duval’s Jim Furyk and Friends prediction: ‘I think they’re going to tear it up’

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Bob Duval was the long-time Timuquana Country Club head professional and nurtured a future world No. 1-ranked golfer in the process on the classic Donald Ross design.

He also became a PGA Tour Champions winner and finished among the top-30 on the money list three years in a row to qualify for the Senior Tour Championship.

As a result, he’s got a keen interest in this week’s Constellation Furyk & Friends, which will be at Timuquana this week, marking the return of the PGA Tour Champions to the First Coast after a 19-year absence.

Duval last played full-time on the Champions Tour in 2001, with an elbow injury causing an early end to his second career. He had 134 career starts with 23 top-10s, had more than $2.25 in career earnings.

His victory in the 1999 Emerald Coast Classic in Pensacola came on the same day that his son David won the 1999 Players Championship, which still remains the only time a father and son have won on the same day in PGA Tour and Champions Tour events.

More: Lefty, Ernie highlight Furyk’s PGA Tour Champions event

And through his son, who learned to play the game at Timuquana and went on to win 13 PGA Tour titles, including the Players and the 2001 Open Championship, Duval is well-acquainted with numerous players who are in the field this week.

His verdict on how they will play the tree-lined course with numerous doglegs and the trademark Ross push-up greens: “I think they’re probably going to tear it up.”

“A lot depends on the greens,” Duval said. “If they’re firm and fast, they might have some problems, especially if they let the Bermuda rough grow a little. But the course is right there in front of you. There are a lot of doglegs but there are no blind shots and these guys are damn good.”

Duval said that while there are no Bryson DeChambeaus on the senior circuit, there are still some big boppers — Phil Mickelson, among them, who will be the first reigning major champion to compete in a Champions Tour event.

“They may be on the Champions Tour but they’re still hitting it 290, 300 yards,” said Duval, They’ve benefited from equipment and the balls just like everyone else.”

Duval said Mickelson should be an obvious contender, but with a caveat.

“If Phil drives it crooked, he will have a rough time,” Duval said.

He also likes the tournament host, Jim Furyk, and Jerry Kelly, for their accuracy off the tee.

“It’s an old-school course and I think the guys are really going to like it,” Duval said. “They always look forward to a course where the short game is important. There are too many modern courses where if you can’t hit it high and right, you can’t play it. It’s going to be fun to watch how they play it.”

Duval had a prediction on the final winning score, unless weather is a factor.

“Twelve or 13-under will be pretty good on Sunday,” he said.

Duval also likes one change they made for tournament week: flipping the sides. That makes the 435-yard par-4 ninth hole, with a large fairway bunker on the left (and out of-bounds beyond that) and trees on the right, a tougher finishing hole than No. 18, which is about 12 yards shorter, with a larger green.

“No. 18 is a flat-out birdie hole now, a driver and a wedge for those guys,” Duval said. “No. 9, you’ve got OB left if you pull it and big trees on the right. That green is a little wobbly, terrain-wise. No. 9 is going to be a great finishing hole.”