By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- A 41 on the front nine Saturday and the drive he sent out of bounds at the 15th hole in the final round cost Jason Dufner dearly at the U.S. Open
That's because Dufner ended up 5 over for the championship after a 67 on Sunday that included six birdies to go along with the triple bogey at the 15th hole. The round of 3 under tied for the low of the tournament.
Had Dufner been able to post a slightly lower number he certainly would have given the leaders something to think about as they played the brutal finishing holes. Instead, he'll likely be settling for a top-10 finish and some self-satisfaction.
"Yeah, there's definitely some birdie holes out here," Dufner said. "You wouldn't expect to birdie six of them on one round. But I birdied five of what I termed to be the easier holes on this golf course.
"Unfortunately that front nine yesterday, and one bad swing on 15 today is probably going to end me up a few short."
Dufner said he had lots of opportunities Sunday, particularly on the front nine. He birdied the first and seventh holes to turn in 34, then added three more in the first four holes on the back. The final birdie was a bounce-back after the triple bogey but it ended up too little, too late.
"I felt pretty good all week, just had a rough year where I can't get anything going," Dufner said. "I had a really nice birdie on the first hole and made a great par on 3. And then made some birdies. If I miss either one of those putts early in the day, it might have been a different story. But it was nice having some things going my way."
Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner are paired again at Colonial (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Seeing Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner paired together at a PGA TOUR event has become a familiar scene. Especially at Colonial.
A year ago at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Johnson and Dufner were paired in the final two rounds of what essentially turned into match play for the title, as the two separated themselves from the rest of the field. Johnson eventually claimed his second title at Colonial, with Dufner finishing second.
This week, they are playing the first two rounds together, along with last week's winner of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Sang-Moon Bae. The threesome tees off Friday at 1:33 p.m. ET.
"I totally enjoy it," Johnson, who opened his title defense with a 1-under 69, said about playing with Dufner. "We've always gotten along very, very well. We kind of went through the ranks together from the Web.com to the TOUR."
Said Dufner, who started with a 3-under 67: "It's always good playing with Zach."
Last year's Colonial weekend served as the first of many pairings for Johnson and Dufner the rest of the year. Because of their proximity to each other in FedExCup points during the Playoffs last year, they were paired in the first two rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the first two rounds of the BMW Championship and the first round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Then, of course, they were teammates on the U.S. squad at the Ryder Cup. They won both of their foursomes matches and lost one four-ball match.
Thursday was the first time they had been paired together this year.
"We're pretty familiar with each other's games," Dufner said. "We kind of play a similar game, so it's kind of easy to club off and kind of see how the course is playing."
Said Johnson: "I'd say his ballstriking is a little more consistent than mine overall, but for the most part, we're both pretty consistent."
Having played against and alongside Dufner for the past year, Johnson has come to appreciate his stoic nature.
"He plays very a-motional golf, I would say," Johnson said. "I like that. I like watching it. I like being around that.
"Plus, he's a good friend."
JOHNSON-DUFNER PAIRINGS SINCE 2012
|Tournament||Round||Johnson's score||Dufner's score|
|2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial||3||65||66|
|2012 Deutsche Bank Championship||1||70||67|
|2012 BMW Championship||1||67||72|
|2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola||1||68||70|
|2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial||1||69||67|
JOHNSON-DUFNER AT 2012 RYDER CUP
|Foursomes||Beat Lee Westwood/Francesco Molinair, 3 up|
|Foursomes||Beat Nicolas Colsaerts/Sergio Garcia, 2 up|
|Four-ball||Lost to Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter, 1 down|
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Dufner was hoping a return to the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship a year ago, would jump-start his season.
It didn't happen.
Dufner finished a frustrating four days at 1 under and will leave Las Colinas still seeking his first top-10 of the season. Dufner's best finish this year in 12 starts is a tie for 12th at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
"It's just not much fun playing golf right now the way I'm playing," said Dufner, who is scheduled to play in next week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he finished second last year to Zach Johnson.
Dufner hit just 46.4 percent of his fairways this week, includng five of 14 on Sunday. He also struggled with his putting, needing 123 putts over the four rounds.
Asked what his main issues are, Dufner replied, "Pretty much everything.
"Can't score, so that's the name of the game out here. You got to make birdies and save pars when you can, and I can't do it, so very frustrating time for me right now, golf-wise."
IRVING, Texas -- In Thursday's opening round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship, defending champion Jason Dufner holed a 129-yard eagle approach shot on the par-4 first hole. Dufner eventually finished at even-par 70.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Seven weeks ago, the Dufnering craze first took root in a Dallas-area classroom. Jason Dufner, back in the area this week for the HP Byron Nelson Championship, has seen most of the photos poking good-natured fun at his slumped pose during a charity event.
The ones that impressed him the most?
"One guy did it up in, I think, it was a C-130 where they transport tanks for the military," Dufner said Wednesday. "They had the back hatch down and he was sitting on the edge and they were up, 20-, 30,000 feet in the air. That was a unique spot to do it. (see photo below)
"There have been all kinds of people that have mimicked it and tried to replicate it and people having their dogs and cats do it, which is extremely weird to me."
The original photo of Dufner went viral, spreading across the Twitter universe and spawning the "Dufnering" term. Instead of being upset with the attention, he embraced it.
"I didn't have to do much," he said. "I was just sitting and somebody decided to take a picture and put it on the Internet, which is always exciting with regard to being in the public spotlight.
"The guys on TOUR had a go at it with me and then it went viral through Twitter and social media and web sites, so it's been good exposure for me. I didn't take it too seriously -- like most things in my life I don't take things too seriously. But it's been a good response and I think people have had a kick out of it."
Here's a look at one of the Dufnering photos that caught Jason Dufner's attention (@D1Cunner0610)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson and Padraig Harrington have all committed to the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Tuesday.
"Along with being great golfers, these six individuals are all well known and our fans will be thrilled to see them compete in person," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "Our competitive field just got a lot stronger with these additions."
All six have played in the event before, which will take place at TPC River Highlands June 20-23, the week after the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Jacobson won the Travelers in 2011, while Harrington tied for fifth in 2011 and was 11th last year.
Others already committed include Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The final pairing of Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia tees off at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. Here's a closer look at each of them, plus who and what else to watch for this afternoon at TPC Sawgrass.
Webb Simpson (1:30 p.m. ET): The reigning U.S. Open champion seemed to turn the corner at Hilton Head, where he finished second after losing in a playoff. This week, he's third in fairways hit and enters Saturday five back.
Jason Dufner (1:30 p..m ET): He had six birdies and just one bogey in the second round and is one of the best ball-strikers in the game. He also finished sixth here two years ago.
Zach Johnson (1:50 p.m. ET): The last four finishes for Johnson here: T32, T22, T12, T2. See the trend? A couple late bogeys on Friday hurt, but Johnson is still in the mix four back.
Adam Scott (1:50 p.m. ET): Playing for the first time since his Masters victory, Scott is in position to go after his second PLAYERS title (he won here in 2004). He's just four shots back.
Hunter Mahan (2 p.m. ET): After struggling in his last few starts, Mahan has turned it around here, hitting 75 percent of his greens in regulation.
Matt Kuchar (2 p.m. ET): No player has ever won this tournament two years in a row. After a 66 Friday, Kuchar has a chance and enters the third round just four shots back.
Ryan Palmer (2:20 p.m. ET): The Texan is playing with a heavy heart after a longtime friend was killed in a car accident Thursday night. He's wearing the initials "CA" on his hat in honor of him.
Henrik Stenson (2:20 p.m. ET): The 2009 champion is in contention again after making two eagles in the second round (on the par-5 second and ninth holes). When he won here four years ago, he shot a final-round 66.
Lee Westwood (2:30 p.m. ET): The Englishman has finished fourth, fifth and sixth here. All that's missing is a win. He's the only player without a bogey through the first two rounds.
Tiger Woods (2:40 p.m. ET): It's been a dozen years since Woods has won here, but he said all facets of his game are clicking right now and it's showed so far with his best 36-hole start in his history here.
Sergio Garcia (2:40 p.m. ET): Like Woods, Garcia has won here before (in 2008), but he's struggled at times playing alongside the world No. 1 with five his last six rounds in the 70s when the two have been paired.
By Brian Allee-Walsh, Special to PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- One of the featured groups failed to take advantage of a vulnerable golf course Thursday morning in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Greeted by soft greens and a slight north wind, the golf gods seemed to be smiling down on two past champions - Bubba Watson (2011) and Nick Watney (2007) -- and defending champion Jason Dufner. But none came close to matching Ricky Barnes' course-record tying 8-under 64 at rain-soaked TPC Louisiana.
Watney led the threesome with a 3-under 69, one better than Dufner (70) and four better than Watson (73).
Watney got an early start to his 32nd birthday, waking up to darkness to work out the kinks before teeing off No. 10 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
"Waking up at 5 in the morning, I'll probably be pretty tame tonight," Watney told reporters after his round. "But yeah, it's always good to celebrate a birthday, and to shoot a decent round makes it even better.
"I'm happy with my round, so I'll go home and watch the boys have at it this afternoon."
Watney also planned to watch the first-round of the NFL Draft where his beloved San Francisco 49ers are slated to pick 31st as the runner-up to the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens.
With 13 overall picks in hand, Watney suggested the 49ers might be ripe to maneuver up in the first round.
"The 49ers are really good," Watney said. "I don't think they have any major holes. But maybe a safety because we lost Dashon Goldston (to Tampa Bay in free agency). So that might be our weak spot."
Dufner fell short of his expectations Thursday but certainly didn't shoot himself out of the tournament, posting birdies on both par 5s on the front nine and a birdie on No. 16, a short 344-yard par 4. His lone bogey came on the par-3 fourth hole.
"We had a north wind today, which I think I've only played once before in my years here," Dufner said. "It was pretty score-able. But some holes we're used to playing downwind were into the wind today. So the course played longer and played really different than what I'm accustomed to here in New Orleans."
Watson slipped past reporters, signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans, then headed into the clubhouse to ponder his round and how to play himself into contention on Friday. He missed the cut last year in defense of his title.
"Eight under is some good golf," Watney said of Barnes' round. "I would take that any day."