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Soundtrack For A Comeback: Hungry Hart

There was a rare sighting at Pebble Beach recently. And no, I’m not talking about Clint Eastwood performing the Heimlich. I’m talking about Dudley Hart’s name near the top of a PGA Tour leaderboard. Through 36 holes of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, there was Hart – a two-time winner with just two other Tour starts to his name since May 2009 – only four strokes off the pace. Despite a weekend fade to T35, Hart earned his first Tour payday in nearly five years. One check doesn’t compensate for two back surgeries, months of healing, countless rehab hours, multiple setbacks, many dashed hopes and pain that just wouldn’t go away. But it’s a start. Once nicknamed the Mini-Volcano for his fiery temper – Steve Pate, a few years’ Hart’s senior, was the Volcano – Hart has mellowed at 45, having known enough trying days on the sidelines to appreciate his Pebble accomplishment. “Unless you win, you’re always hoping to do better,” he said last week from his home in Buffalo, known more for snowdrifts than boiling lava. “There’s a lot to work on, but I took a lot of positive out of it. … The weather got a little dicey on the weekend, and my back held up pretty well … so that was really encouraging.” Though optimistic, Hart is careful not too look too far ahead. He knows only too well how the best-laid plans can go horribly awry when you’re a golfer dealing with a back injury.


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