FedExCup spotlight: Jason DufnerPALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 16: Jason Dufner plays a shot on the 9th hole during the third round of the Tampa Bay Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 16, 2013 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)April 24, 2013
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
Each week, PGATOUR.COM will take a look at one of the FedExCup contenders in the field and break down his past performances at that week's event, FedExCup history, and potential for success in the 2013 FedExCup chase.
TPC Louisiana and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans must be welcome sites for Jason Dufner.
The resident of SEC country -- Dufner lives in Auburn, Ala. -- has four consecutive top-10 finishes at this week’s TOUR stop including his maiden victory last season. Another top 10 this week would be Dufner’s first in 2013 and first in a dozen official TOUR starts.
The last time Dufner went 12 starts between top 10s came at the end of 2009 and the start of 2010. That streak of 12 consecutive finishes outside the top 10 was snapped … wait for it … at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
In addition to his 2012 victory, Dufner has finishes of T3, T7 and T9 in his last four trips to Louisiana. He’s posted an aggregate score of 52-under in those starts in New Orleans. Prior to this run of great form, Dufner had a tie for 44th here in 2007 following a missed cut in his 2004 debut at this event.
A regular on TOUR since the inception of the FedExCup (2007), Dufner has qualified for the Playoffs in five of the first six years of the competition, making three trips to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in that span. That window encompasses 153 of Dufner’s 184 TOUR starts, 22 of his 24 top-10 finishes and both of his victories.
Dufner checks in this week at No. 74 in the FedExCup standings which marks his lowest ranking leading into the Zurich Classic since 2007. On the plus side, he boasts a stellar track record in New Orleans, where he’s improved his FedExCup standing each of the last five time’s he’s entered this event.
The stats support the standings in regard to Dufner's slow start to the season. A year ago, Dufner finished third on TOUR in the all-around ranking, which combines eight different statistical categories to indicate a golfer's overall efficiency. He's currently 96th in that stat, but hasn't finished outside the top 25 at TPC Louisiana in the statistic in any of his last four trips here. In fact, Dufner led the field in the all-around en route to his 2012 victory.
With that strong performance as a springboard, Dufner kicked his season into gear around this time last year. He won the Zurich Classic then added another win and four other top-10 finishes in his next six starts to take the lead in the FedExCup race and secure a great starting position in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Another strong outing at TPC Louisiana could be just what Dufner needs to get his 2013 season on track.
Dufner's FedExCup finishes 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 127th 172nd 11th 65th 25th 14th FedExCup highlights • Dufner has played in 15 of 24 Playoff events, carding eight top-25 finishes. • Dufner's best Playoff finish -- a runner-up at the 2009 Deutsche Bank -- propelled him to a career-best FedExCup finish of 11th. • After winning the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship, Dufner took over the top spot in the FedExCup standings and held the position for six weeks. • Prior to 2012, Dufner had never cracked the top 5 in the FedExCup standings. • Dufner has improved his FedExCup position each year he's played in New Orleans. Dufner's Zurich Classic results, FedExCup standings Year FedExCup before Zurich result Points earned FedExCup after 2007 103rd T44 67 102nd 2009 60th T9 77.5 50th 2010 58th T7 85 44th 2011 29th T3 145 22nd 2012 34th Won 500 9th