Part-timer Duval rolls back the years at St Andrews

David Duval of the U.S. hits onto the 18th green during the third round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 19, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne (Reuters)

By Tony Jimenez ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Former champion David Duval is a part-time golfer these days and admits it is "not a fair fight" taking on the world's best but he punched well above his weight in the British Open third round on Sunday. The 43-year-old American's commitments as a commentator with the Golf Channel have restricted his appearances on the U.S. PGA Tour this season to four tournaments, and he has missed the cut in three of them. Duval, though, gave a glimpse of the special talents that took him to the top of the world rankings in 1999 by reeling off seven birdies in ideal scoring conditions at St Andrews. "The difficulty I face is not getting to compete against the best players in the world, the Dustin Johnsons, Jordan Spieths, Rory McIlroys," he told reporters after surging to a five-under-par 67 that gave him a five-under tally of 211. "It is not a fair fight when I haven't played a golf tournament in three or four months and they've been playing constantly." Duval's solitary major victory came in the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham and he loves taking on the finest seaside layouts in Britain. "Links golf is my favourite thing to do, just puts a smile on my face when I'm out there playing," he said. "The challenges of it I find intriguing, frustrating, uplifting, all of those things. "I've been at St Andrews every day since last Saturday playing golf. Who gets to say that? It's pretty cool. "I got a lot of congratulations, a lot of thumbs-ups from players and caddies when I made a birdie on 18 yesterday," said Duval in reference to the putt that helped him make the cut by the skin of his teeth. "It's nice to come to a place you love and perform well. Who's to say what tomorrow brings but with the way I feel, I'm in control and I can put up another decent score." Duval missed the cut in his six previous Open appearances, a run that perfectly illustrates the way his game has gone since his halcyon days, and he is delighted to be back doing what he enjoys best. "My wife Suzy is here with me this week," he said. "I like her to see me play well. "She's seen enough bad golf so it's good for her to see some good golf too." (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)