Dufner Digs Deep In New Orleans
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA | In the playoff for the
Zurich Classic on Sunday were the two players
who would no doubt lead the PGA Tour in low-blood pressure.
In the end, it was unflappable Jason Dufner
who closed out the Hall of Famer, Ernie Els,
with a birdie on the second playoff hole to win
his first PGA Tour event. And it put an end to
the notion that Dufner wasn’t going to be able
to close the deal in the end.
Dufner and Els finished tied during regulation at 19-under 269 at TPC Louisiana. Dufner,
who took the 54-hole lead by two shots, finished with a 2-under 70 and was caught by Els,
who recorded a 67 on Sunday.
Dufner, who first rose to prominence when
he lost in a playoff
to Keegan Bradley
at last year’s PGA
spent most of this year in the
headlines after two rounds of
a few PGA Tour events.
He shared the 36-hole lead
with Fred Couples at The
Masters before returning a pair
of 75s on the weekend. He led
the Transitions Championship
by two shots after two rounds and
shot two 71s to finish tied for 10th.
He held a share of the lead with a 64
at the Waste Management Phoenix
Open, the place where he lost a
playoff last year to Mark Wilson.
“It was a tough day,” said
the 35-year-old Dufner, who
is getting married on Saturday. Jason Dufner
“Ernie put up a good number. It’s tough getting
this first win. It’s been tough for six years.”
It appeared for all the world that Els would
win the Zurich Classic, which would have been
his first victory on the PGA Tour since 2010. Els
caught Dufner with birdies at the second and fifth
and took the lead by two shots with an eagle at
the par- 5 seventh. Dufner came back with birdies
at the seventh and eighth and both players made
critical pars coming down the stretch that kept
them even until the final shot was holed.
Particularly the par Dufner made at the
short par- 4 16th. He hit his tee shot in the
water and wound up holing a 43-footer for par
to remain in a tie.
“I felt pretty good until I hit that ball in
the water at 16,” Dufner said of his lack of
nerves. “That was the turning point in
It’s that appearance of total calm
that has everyone in golf shaking their
“I don’t know how long he can keep it
up, that wall he has,” Els said of Dufner.
“But he’s done pretty well so far. Re-
minds me of myself back in the day. If
he keeps that shield up, it’s a pretty
good defensive mechanism.”
Luke Donald finished
third, two shots back at
17 under, while Ryan
Palmer and Graham
DeLaet were a shot back
in a share of fourth.
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