Jason Dufner Wins PGA Championship

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Laid-back Dufner Tames Oak Hill, Earns Sweet Redemption

Jason Dufner Wins PGA Championship
Jason Dufner looks more like the guy who drives the cage cart at your local driving range than a major champion. He greets clutch birdies like a guy who just found a quarter in the couch cushions. 
 
With a hangdog expression, a slight paunch, a soul patch and a dip of Copenhagen tucked between his lip and gum, Dufner doesn’t electrify like Tiger Woods or inspire like Phil Mickelson. But Duf-man beat Mickelson by 22 shots this week, and he did something Tiger hasn’t done since 2008: He won a major championship in rather dominating fashion.
 
There would be no Atlanta-style meltdown for Dufner at Oak Hill. Two years ago, Dufner held a five-shot lead on the 15th tee on Sunday at the PGA Championship before finding the water and ultimately major heartbreak at Atlanta Athletic Club, losing in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. 
 
This year, a more seasoned, more confident Dufner put the foot on the throttle with a second-round 63 and never let up, playing precise if not entirely flawless golf on a 1-under par weekend to set the Oak Hill major championship scoring record with a 10-under finish. 
 
“I still can’t believe this is happening to me,” Dufner said after capturing his third PGA Tour win. “To come back from a couple years ago in this championship when I lost to Keegan in a playoff and win feels really, really good.
 
“It’s such a great course. I decided I was going to be confident. I wasn’t going to play scared or soft. It’s a big step for my career.”
 
Runner-up Jim Furyk, who held the third-round lead, failed to put any pressure on Dufner, shooting a final-round 71 and bogeying the final two holes. Still, he left Oak Hill without regrets. “I played a solid round of golf,” he said. “Felt like I struck the ball really well on the back nine.”
 
The Swedish contingent of Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt finished third and fourth, respectively. The 37-year-old Stenson continued his resurgence, adding his PGA showing to his runner-up finish at the British Open last month. 
 
PGA Notes
• Adam Scott’s T5 finish was his seventh top-8 finish in a major in the last three years and his third major top-5 of the season. Scott was the season’s best major championship performer, posting a cumulative score of 2-over. Jason Day joined Scott as the only players with three top 10s in majors this season; Day added a T8 at the PGA to his third at The Masters and T2 at the U.S. Open. 
 
• Keegan Bradley, who took advantage of Dufner’s meltdown at the 2011 PGA, hung around following his final-round 66 to offer Duf his congratulations.
 
• Look for Twitter maestro Dufner to play up his major win via social media. The prolific tweeter had fun with the so-called Dufnering craze that he inspired, so a shot of the PGA champ Dufnering with the Wanamaker Trophy should be popping up on your feed if you’re among his 200K-plus followers.
 
• Defending champion Rory McIlroy flirted with the cut line on Friday before stringing together some birdies to play the weekend, when he shot 67-70 to finish T8 at 4-under. It was easily the best performance in a major this season for McIlroy, who finished T25 at The Masters, T41 at the U.S. Open and missed the cut at the British Open.
 
• The world’s Top 2 finished in the field’s bottom half. Pre-tournament favorite Tiger Woods, so dominant last week at Firestone, never got anything going, playing four lackluster rounds and failing to break 70 in finishing T40 at 4-over par. In fact, in the season’s four majors, Woods broke 70 only once in 16 rounds — a first-round 69 at the British Open. “Is it concerning? No,” Woods said. “It’s more frustrating not being in it.” Meanwhile, Open champion Phil Mickelson had four double-bogeys and two triples on his way to a 12-over finish and a tie for 72nd. 
 
• Major champion in waiting Dustin Johnson had the best weekend of any player in the field, shooting 65-69 after opening 72-71. 
 

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