David Duval gears up for British Open at monster course in Colorado

Fort Collins Coloradoan

David Duval gears up for British Open at monster course in Colorado

Korn Ferry

David Duval gears up for British Open at monster course in Colorado

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BERTHOUD, Colo. — David Duval could be in Northern Ireland this week, preparing for the British Open at Royal Portrush, a course he’s never played.

But the 2001 British Open champion who was once ranked No. 1 in the world believes a good, competitive pro tournament in his adopted home state of Colorado will serve him just as well, if not better, than some extra practice rounds across the pond.

So, he’s playing in the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes, a first-year event July 11-14 on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly known as the Web.com Tour) at the new championship course in Berthoud.

“I felt like for me that a competitive week is more important than an extra practice round,” Duval said recently, before playing TPC Colorado for the first time.

That level of competition isn’t quite the same on the Korn Ferry Tour as it is on the PGA Tour, where Duval won 13 events from 1997-2001 and led the tour in earnings in 1998.

But it’s not that far off, either.

A view of the TPC Colorado golf course in Berthoud, Colo. (Photo: Fort Collins Coloradoan)

Duval, 47, spent two years on the tour in the mid-1990s and said it was an important step in learning how to manage not just your golf game but also the demands of arranging your own airline flights, hotel rooms, rental cars and other logistics at each stop.

“It’s hard not to stress enough that these are world-class players, these are the elite, and these are the guys you’ll be watching in professional golf for years and years to come,” Duval said. “… These guys who are doing this, they’re used to going out and competing and having to shoot literally 66 every day. If you break down what Mark (Hubbard) shot to win, he shot 65½ every day.

“Think about that. That’s golfing. No matter who you are, that is playing golf, to shoot 26-under par when he won a few weeks back. That’s remarkable. I don’t know about this golf course, if that will happen here. But you’re going to see incredible players.”

A view of the 16th hole at the TPC Colorado golf course in Berthoud, Colo. (Photo: Fort Collins Coloradoan)

Duval received one of four sponsor exemptions at TPC Colorado, a course that opened a year ago and will be set up just shy of 8,000 yards and features a 773-yard, par-5 hole and two par 5s at 624 yards. It also has three par 4s under 400 yards.

It’s the first tournament on a pro tour to be played in Colorado since the 2014 BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club just outside of Denver, where Duval has lived for the past 16 years. The International, a PGA Tour event from 1986-2006 at Castle Pines just south of Denver, was one of the more popular stops on the tour for players and fans alike, Duval said.

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