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A disappointing score failed to change David Duval's positive outlook. (Franklin/Getty Images)

For Duval, an 83 that wasn't as bad as it looked

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David Duval's hopes for a breakthrough tournament blew away in the whipping win Saturday, but he was pleased with how he struck the ball and maintained his rhythm.

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) - David Duval finally put together two good rounds to get into contention at the Open Championship, raising the idea that he was close to breaking out of a mystifying slump.

Then came a triple bogey on the first hole at Royal Birkdale, and an 83 on his card to match his highest score in this major. Yet none of that changed his outlook.

"I don't walk away from today's round any less confident than yesterday's round," Duval said. "If anything, I gained confidence with how I struck the ball and maintained my rhythm. You need good bounces on a day like this to have a good score. I just got behind it and couldn't get any nice things to happen."

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Starting the third round only three shots out of the lead, Duval's approach ballooned into the 40 mph gusts and wound up 30 yards to the right of the green in hay so deep he took a one-shot penalty for relief, even though his drop wasn't in grass much shorter. He pounded that one over the green into another nasty lie, chipped out effectively to 25 feet and made triple bogey.

"It didn't demoralize me," Duval said. "I figured that's three bogeys everybody is going to make."

He didn't make a par until the fifth hole, and didn't make a birdie all day. But he wasn't alone. Duval had one of nine rounds in the 80s.

"It's about as hard as I've ever played in," Duval said. "I don't know how you can describe it. You have to be out there trying to hit a shot to appreciate it. How do you judge on one hole if a 2-iron is going to go 160 yards, and on the next hole a 5-iron is going to go 230 yards? There's a lot of guessing out there."

He played with defending champion Padraig Harrington, who shot 72 to get into the final group.

"I knew everybody would find it tough," Harrington said. "David played with me and didn't really play too badly, and you could see his score. You could see that if things got away from you and you didn't get the right breaks, it was going to be a difficult day."

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