Solid Dufner wins PGA by 2|
Rochester, NY (Sports Network) - He may have stumbled on the final two holes,
but Jason Dufner did more than enough over the first 16 to win the 95th PGA
Dufner had four birdies and 12 pars in the first 16 holes en route to a
closing 2-under 68. He ended his first major championship victory at 10-under-
par 270 at Oak Hill.
The 36-year-old had coughed up the lead late in the 2011 PGA Championship,
then lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff. Dufner's stellar iron play on this
Sunday wouldn't allow that to happen.
"It's been a tough day, a long day, it was a tough golf course. It probably
still hasn't hit me yet, and I can't believe this is happening to me," Dufner
said at the trophy presentation. "To come back from a couple years ago in this
championship, when I lost to Keegan in a playoff, to win feels really, really
good. It's a great feeling to win one of these."
Jim Furyk, the third-round leader, stumbled to a 1-over 71 to end alone in
second at minus-8. The 2003 U.S. Open champion failed to hold the 54-hole lead
for a fifth straight time in which he was in that position.
"There was other times where I felt like the tournament slipped through my
fingers and out of my grasp and I was definitely disappointed. I played my
heart out today. No regrets over it," said Furyk. "I played a very, very solid
tournament. If I could go back, I'd have loved to try to make par at 17 and 18
and really put some heat on him.
"And I wasn't able to do that. That's the one thing that's the thorn in my
side, but he played well. I didn't hit it as crisp."
Dufner looked as solid as an oak on the front nine as he carded six pars to go
with three birdies, none of which were from more than five feet out. He
remained solid until dropped shots on the final two holes.
He was two clear before those dropped shots, and remained there as his playing
partner, Furyk, tripped to bogeys on those two holes as well.
Henrik Stenson, who like Dufner was going for his first major championship
victory, closed with an even-par 70 to end alone in third at 7-under 273.
Jonas Blixt played alongside his countryman Stenson, and also carded a 70 in
the final round. Blixt ended alone in fourth at 6-under-par 274.
Masters winner Adam Scott bogeyed two of the last three holes en route to a 70
of his own. He tied for fifth place with Scott Piercy, who fired a 5-under 65
for the low round of the day, at 5-under.
Rory McIlroy, the 2012 champion, managed a 70 on Sunday to end in a share of
eighth at 3-under-par 277.
Four-time champion Tiger Woods went out in 3-over 38 with a bogey at eight and
a double-bogey at nine. Around the turn, he birdied three of four holes from
the 12th to get back to even-par for his round. Woods parred the last three
holes to finish at 4-over 284.
Tim Clark, who finished third at the 2003 PGA at Oak Hill, recorded the first
hole-in-one of the week. He aced the par-3 11th, but still struggled to a 75,
which left him at plus-10.
British Open champ and Phil Mickelson mixed four birdies, a triple bogey, a
double bogey and a bogey in a round of 2-over 72. The 2007 PGA winner ended
the tournament at 12-over 292.
Furyk and Dufner matched pars on the first three holes. Dufner knocked his
second shot over the green at the fourth, but he chipped inside five feet and
made the birdie putt to tie Furyk at minus-9.
Dufner, who won twice in the 2012 season, made it two in a row as he stuffed
his approach at the fifth within a foot. He kicked that birdie in to go one
clear of Furyk.
Furyk, a 16-time winner on the PGA Tour, answered with a 25-foot birdie effort
on the sixth to join Dufner atop the leaderboard. The final two holes on the
front nine proved to be the difference.
At the eighth, Dufner again knocked his approach within a foot and tapped in
for birdie and the lead at 11-under.
Furyk's approach at the ninth came up short of the putting surface. He chipped
to 12 feet, but failed to convert. The bogey dropped Furyk two back as they
headed to the back nine.
With nine holes to go, it was down to the two leaders, while Stenson was
briefly in the mix too. The Swede birdied the 13th to move within two at
minus-9. However, Stenson bogeyed two of the next four to slide to minus-7.
Dufner and Furyk matched pars on the first six holes of the back nine. Furyk's
approach at the 16th landed just over 10 feet from the hole. Dufner answered
by dropping his second shot inside a foot.
In a bit of match play, Furyk buried his birdie try to put a little pressure
on Dufner, who responded by converting his birdie effort.
Things got sloppy the final two holes. Furyk missed the green at 17, then left
his chip in the rough. He got up and down for bogey from there. Dufner 3-
putted for bogey from long range for his first bogey in 27 holes.
At the last, both players found the rough off the tee and both came up short
with their second shots. Furyk blasted some 20 feet behind the hole, then 2-
putted for a closing bogey.
Dufner chipped 12 feet short of the hole. After Furyk 2-putted for bogey,
Dufner left his par effort just short. He knocked in his bogey putt for the
biggest win of his life.
"I thought about that a lot. I thought about this putt being to win the PGA
Championship, to win whatever tournament it might have been. Fortunately for
me, I had little bit of cushion there on the last hole and that last putt was
right in the perfect range for me to make it," Dufner stated.
"There's not much to celebrate from six inches or less, but it was nice to
have that short of a putt to cap this off. I didn't practice too many four-to-
six inchers to win a tournament. But, you know, it was a perfect ending for
NOTES: Dufner claimed $1,445,000 for the victory ... He now owns three PGA
Tour victories, while this was his first European Tour title ... There were 25
rounds under par in the final round ... With Dufner's win, 18 of the last 21
majors have been won by different players, and 15 of the last 19 major winners
were first-time major champions ... Dufner was one of 13 players that made the
cut in all four majors ... All four majors champions in 2013 came from behind
in the final round to win ... The PGA Tour is in North Carolina next week for
the final event of the regular season, the Wyndham Championship, where Sergio
Garcia won by two last year.
08/11 20:41:35 ET