Dufner shows some emotion, hangs on at Oak Hill
PITTSFORD, New York (AP) — No Dufnering on this day. In fact, Jason Dufner actually showed a bit of emotion.
When he spotted his ball in the creek at No. 5, he yanked his driver out of the bag to mark the spot for a drop, then slammed it back in when he was done. After an errant drive at the final hole, he tossed the club away with disdain and stalked off angrily down the fairway.
Yet Dufner managed to hold it together Saturday during a round that could’ve been much worse.
He followed a record-tying 63 with a pedestrian 1-over 71 that nonetheless included some clutch shots down the stretch, allowing him to stay in contention for his first major title.
Dufner will play in the final group Sunday, just one stroke behind leader Jim Furyk.
“You’re going to hit poor shots. You’re going to get bad breaks,” he said. “You’ve just got to move on past it.”
Dufner started the day with a two-stroke lead and was poised to be four strokes clear of the field when he stood over a 6-foot birdie try at the par-5 fourth. The putt wouldn’t drop, and things really turned when he teed off at the fifth and his ball caught some trees and ricocheted into the hazard that meanders through course. He tried to get out with only a bogey, but missed the putt.
“Those are the type of things that can really get you unnerved and unsettled,” Dufner said.
He followed with birdies at the seventh and 10th holes, and saved par on the final hole to remain only a shot back going into Sunday.
Back in April, Dufner’s casual personality took on a life of its own after a picture emerged of him sitting on the floor of an elementary classroom during a charity event, an empty look in his eyes as the teacher lectured her students about focus.
The pose became known as “Dufnering,” and the golfer has gladly embraced the notoriety that has come with it, even recreating the moment for a photo with Tiger Woods’ girlfriend, skiing champion Lindsay Vonn.
At the PGA Championship two years ago, Dufner seemed poised to capture his first major title when he stepped to the 15th tee on Sunday with a four-stroke lead. He frittered away the advantage and lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.
“Hopefully the experience I’ve had since then will pull me through and give me a chance to win,” he said.