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Jason Dufner Wins PGA Championship For First Major

6:03 PM, Aug 11, 2013   |    comments
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Jason Dufner erased the memory of a blown lead at the PGA Championship two years ago, staying steady to the finish on Sunday at Oak Hill.

Dufner shot a final-round 2-under 68 to finish at 10 under par and claim his first major title.

Dufner, 36, started the day a shot behind Jim Furyk, but he made birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 8 on the front nine, then played target golf the rest of the way - fairways and greens - to pull away from a crowded leaderboard. He kept the pressure on at 16, knocking his approach to within a foot and then knocked in the biridie putt, just seconds after Furyk made birdie to temporarily close to within a shot.

Dufner could have put it away for sure on 17 when Furyk got in trouble in the rough and made bogey, but he missed a 2-footer for par. The lead stayed two shots, however.

Furyk bogeyed the last two holes and ended up in second at 8 under after a final-round 71.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden shot a final-round 70 to finish alone in third at 7 under. In his last four events, Stenson has finished third, second, second, third.

Jonas Blixt (70) of Sweden was fourth at 6 under. Masters champion Adam Scott (70) and Scott Piercy (65) tied for fifth at 5 under. Piercy's 65 was the round of the day.

Dufner broke a tie for the lead with a tap-in birdie at 8 to get to 11 under, then saved par at the ninth with a testy 10-footer. Furyk took a bogey at the final hole on the front side, unable to make up for a poor approach shot into the thick rough ringing the green.

At the 2011 PGA Championship in Atlanta, Dufner stepped to the 15th tee with a four-stroke edge. But he frittered it away, and Keegan Bradley won the playoff.

The 43-year-old Furyk was trying to give golf another middle-aged champion. Three weeks ago, Phil Mickelson captured the British Open at age 43. The last time golf had back-to-back major champions in their 40s was 1986, when Jack Nicklaus won the Masters and Raymond Floyd followed with a victory in the U.S. Open.

Mickelson wasn't a factor at Oak Hill. He shot 72 to finish 12 over, tied for 72nd position when he headed for home, his day done before the guys in contention for the Wanamaker Trophy even teed off.

Tiger Woods was an also-ran, as well, wrapping up his fifth straight year without a major title. He did play well down the stretch, making birdies on three of the last six holes. But all that got him was a 70, leaving him at 4-over 284 for the week. He never shot in the 60s, despite much easier scoring conditions the first two days and warm, sunny weather the last two.

Woods is 0 for 18 in the Grand Slam events since winning the U.S. Open in 2008, leaving him at 14 major championships in his career and still four behind the record held by Jack Nicklaus.

Dufner put himself in position to win on Friday with a scintillating 7-under 63.

He became the 24th player to shoot 63 in a major championship, leaving a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to become the first player to ever shoot 62 in the game's four biggest tournaments a foot short.

Dufner, the man with a curly mop, a dip in his lip and a waggle before most every shot, sparked a movement earlier this year - Dufnering is what it came to be known - when a picture of him sitting (or slouched) against the wall in a classroom of children during a charity event in March, a vacant look on his face and barely a pulse in his body, went viral. People around the world, including many of his colleagues, started to imitate the "relaxed" Dufner.

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