In 2011, Dufner squandered a five-stroke lead with four holes to play at Atlanta Athletic Club, and lost a three-hole playoff to Keegan Bradley. Now, at age 36, competing in all four majors for just the second time, Dufner made the most of his opportunities at Oak Hill. He delivered a stunning display of shotmaking on the East Course, which had surrendered only 10 sub-par finishes by players in seven previous major championships (regular or Champions Tour) conducted on the Donald Ross layout. The sting of losing at Atlanta had subsided, and Dufner was not about to fall into a similar situation when battling for the lead. He recorded a second-round, near-flawless 7-under-par 63, which was the 26th round of 63 in a major, and snatched the 36-hole lead. Trailing Jim Furyk by one stroke to open the final round, Dufner put on a clinic in ballstriking, once reaching 12-under par through 16 holes, before closing with a pair of bogeys. Furyk, who finished runner-up after an even-par 70, praised Dufner’s performance. “He didn’t miss very many fairways, and he hit some really good iron shots. I look back to his hitting it a foot on 5, 8 and 16. I mean, tap-in birdies,” said Furyk. “He hit the ball very solidly and made enough putts to separate himself from the field.” Sweden’s duo of Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt, attempting to make history themselves by giving their homeland its first male major champion, each closed with 70 and finished third and fourth, respectively. Scott Piercy, who sizzled in the final round with 65, and Scott, who had 70, tied for fifth at 275. Rory McIlroy, who produced a record PGA Championship triumph a year ago, tied for eighth.
Dufner revealed that he has received a share of needling from Bradley on Twitter over the last two years. That all factored into his appreciating his win at Oak Hill. “He always jabbed at me a little bit about having one of these in his house,” Dufner said, sitting next to the Wanamaker Trophy. “And now I’ve got one, too. It’s pretty neat to come back and win a PGA, to be honest with you.” For Jason and Amanda Dufner, the Wanamaker Trophy was a sweet reward at the end of the 95th PGA Championship.
His name atop the leaderboard after 72 holes, Jason Dufner is now part of golf history.
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