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April 29 2012

10:34 PM

Live updates: News, notes and more

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Is this the Sunday when Jason Dufner picks up his first win?
AVONDALE, La. – The final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is under way at TPC Louisiana. Check back frequently for updates and et us know what you think about the competition in the  comments section below. MORE ZURICH CLASSIC:  Leaderboard | Shot Tracker | Projected FedExCup points
PLAYOFF UPDATES (all times ET) 6:34 p.m. -- It took 164 tournaments -- and several heart-wrenching disappointments -- but Jason Dufner is finally a PGA TOUR champion. He tapped in for birdie to end the playoff and raised his putter briefly in the air, the celebration as understated as his personality. 6:32 p.m. -- This time, Jason Dufner didn't leave his eagle putt short. He's got 19 inches for birdie as Els surveys his own birdie putt. The Big Easy misses by inches and it's all up to Dufner. 6:29 p.m. -- Ernie Els' third shot lands just on the fringe, 19 feet from the pin for a potential birdie. But the advantage belongs to Jason Dufner who reached the green in two. 6:25 p.m. -- Ernie Els hits first out of the bunker and lays up well back. He'll have 137 to the pin. Jason Dufner finds the right side of the green again and will have 59 feet for eagle. 6:22 p.m. -- Ernie Els' third drive at the 18th hole on Sunday finds the middle fairway bunker after a poke of 288 yards. Jason Dufner, meanwhile, flirts with the right side of the fairway, a long, skinny bunker and the water -- but the ball stops safely, 263 yards from the pin. 6:19 p.m. -- Prior to Sunday, Jason Dufner had played the 18th hole in 4 under with two  birdies and an eagle in the second round. Ernie Els, on the other hand, only has two birdies on the 570-yard par 5 -- both of which came in the first two rounds. 6:17 p.m. -- Jason Dufner misses his birdie putt and taps in. The pressure is on Els. The crowd groans again as his putt rolls 2 feet, 9 inches past the hole but he makes it coming back. The two will head back to the 18th hole. 6:13 p.m. -- This time Ernie Els gives himself a much better opportunity, blasting to 5 feet, 9 inches. Jason Dufner putts down the ridge to 7 feet, 3 inches. 6:09 p.m. -- Jason Dufner's second shot lands on the right side of the green and he'll have 73 feet for eagle. Erniie Els finds the same bunker he was in during regulation. 6:06 p.m. – This is Ernie Els’ first playoff since the 2004 British Open, which he lost to Todd Hamilton. Jason Dufner is playing in his third and looking for his first victory. 6:04 p.m. – Ernie Els hits first. His drive travels 316 yards and veers just off the short grass beside the third fairway bunker. Jason Dufner’s drive, meanwhile, finds the fairway some 308 yards out. Due to the angle, though, Dufner is only one yard farther away from the green than Els is.
FINAL-ROUND UPDATES (all times ET) 5:53 p.m. -- Jason Dufner's putt stubbornly refuses to fall, sliding under the hole. He taps in so we'll head back to the 18th hole for a playoff, the second straight at the Zurich Classic. 5:50 p.m. -- With Ernie Els over on the practice green, Jason Dufner chips to 11 feet. He needs to make the birdie putt or we'll have a playoff. 5:46 p.m. -- Jason Dufner 's 3-hybrid lands in the collection area to the left of the green. He needs to get up and down for birdie and the long-awaited win. 5:43 p.m. -- Ernie Els blasted out to 17 feet but the birdie putt stops and inch shy of the hole. Jason Dufner, waiting to hit his second shot, can win his first PGA TOUR event with a birdie. 5:35 p.m. -- Ernie Els just put his second shot into the greenside bunker at the 18th hole -- the same one from which Luke Donald just got up and down for birdie. Jason Dufner's drive lands just beside the fairway bunker. 5:27 p.m. -- Jason Dufner missed the green at the 17th hole but chipped to 6 feet and made the downhill putt for another par. Ernie Els has just found the fairway at the 18th hole so Dufner will have a bit of a wait on the tee. 5:25 p.m. -- Luke Donald got up and down from the greenside bunker at No. 18 for a final birdie in a round of 67 that moved him into sole possession of third place. He goes back to No. 1 in the world. 5:22 p.m. -- In case you were wondering, a playoff would begin at the 18th hole. It would go 18-18-17 and then back to 18, if necessary. 5:18 p.m. -- Not to be outdone, Ernie Els answered a minute later with a 14-footer to save par at the 17th hole after coming up short of the green. He'll head to the par-5 18th tied with Jason Dufner at 19 under. 5:16 p.m. -- Jason Dufner took his drop and then put his third shot on the far fringe, 44 feet away. Dufner, who made a 51-footer for birdie in the third round, cooly made the improbable par. This time he cracks a smile as he walks back to his bag. 5:10 p.m. -- Jason Dufner's 4-footer to save par at No. 15 took the side entrance but managed to find the cup so he remains tied with Ernie Els at 19 under. But Dufner has got bigger problems now -- his drive at the 16th hole found the hazard by the bank ... and there is an alligator nearby. 4:49 p.m. -- After missing the green right at the par-3 14th, Jason Dufner calmly rolled in a 9-footer for par to remain tied with Ernie Els. It's virtually a two-man race with their nearest competitors three behind -- but remember, the 18th is a par 5 that has yeilded 12 eagles so far this week. 4:37 p.m. --Looks like Bubba Watson is going to finish four points shy of taking over the FedExCup lead from his fellow "Golf Boy" Hunter Mahan. The Masters champ shot 70 Sunday and finished at 11 under. Click here to check out the projected FedExCup standings. 4:24 p.m. -- A clutch par save at the 12th hole enabled Ernie Els to remain in that tie with Jason Dufner at 19 under. The affable South African found the left fairway bunker off the tee and put his second in another short and right of the green before blasting out to 10 feet and making the putt. 4:14 p.m. -- Cameron Tringale continues to challenge for his first victory -- rolling in consecutive birdie putts of 14, 12 and 3 feet starting at No. 11 to move into the tie at 16 under with Steve Stricker, Luke Donald and Ryan Palmer. Tringale has tied for eighth in his last two starts. 4:09 p.m. -- With Jason Dufner watching back in the fairway, Ernie Els gets up and down from the mound above the left greenside bunker at the par-5 11th to once again join the Auburn grad in the lead, this time at 19 under. Els has hit 10 of 11 greens in regulation and 6 of 9 fairways on Sunday. 3:57 p.m. -- Jason Dufner has just regained the lead with an 11-footer for birdie at the 10th hole. True to form, he barely cracks a smile. 3:46 p.m. -- Ernie Els and Jason Dufner have just started the back nine at TPC Louisiana, tied for the lead at 18 under.  Steve Stricker trails by two while Luke Donald just chipped in from 47 feet right of the green at the par-5 11th to join John Rollins and Ryan Palmer at 15 under. 3:30 p.m. -- Jason Dufner is proving awfully resilient as he chases his first PGA TOUR victory. He has just birdied two straight, making a 5-footer at No. 8, to pull even with Ernie Els at the top of the leaderboard. 3:25 p.m. -- Don't count out world No. 2 Luke Donald. He's just made the turn in 2 under and moved with four strokes of Ernie Els' lead. Donald, who is tied for fifth with  John Rollins and Graham DeLaet, needs to finish solo seventh or better to overtake Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings. 3:21 p.m. -- Steve Stricker briefly joined Jason Dufner at 16 under after making a 7-footer for birdie at the eighth hole. Minutes later, though, Dufner two-putted for birdie at No. 7, leaving his 21-footer for eagle 17 inches shot, to get back to 17 under and one behind Ernie Els. 3:12 p.m. -- Just call the seventh hole the 'Big Easy' for Ernie Els. He just made an 8-footer for eagle there and now leads by two at 18 under. The 547-yard par 5 is the easiest on the course this week. 3:10 p.m. -- Ken Duke's sizzling start may have been for naught. Duke, who birdied four of his first five holes to move within a shot of the lead, now trails  by three after a bogey at No. 8 and a water-logged double at the ninth hole. 3:05 p.m. -- Just as the CBS coverage comes on TV, we have a tie at the top of the leaderboard. Jason Dufner missed the sixth green, chipped on and couldn't convert an 8-footer for par so he's tied with World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els. 3:01 p.m. -- Masters champ Bubba Watson is working on what would be his 16th straight round of par or better, which leads the PGA TOUR. He started with consecutive bogeys but has strung together streaks of three and two straight birdies to move to 2 under for the day with six holes remaining. 2:46 p.m. -- Ernie Els has joined Ken Duke in a tie for second, one behind Jason Dufner, with a 4-foot birdie putt at the fourth hole. He's trying to win for the first time since the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. 2:29 p.m. --If Jason Dufner goes on to win the Zurich Classic, he'll be the second golfer who played collegiately at Auburn to win on TOUR. The other one, John Huston, has seven TOUR wins and now plays the Champions Tour. 2:16 p.m. -- A 5-footer for birdie at the fifth hole, his fourth birdie of the day, has pulled Ken Duke within a shot of Jason Dufner. Duke, who is looking for his first PGA TOUR win, too, finished second in New Orleans in 2007, one of his three runners-up on TOUR. 1:57 p.m. -- Ken Duke is making an early move with birdies on his first three holes. He's now tied with Graham DeLeat, two strokes behind Jason Dufner. DeLaet and Dufner parred their first holes. 1:40 p.m. -- John Rollins has just teed off in the penultimate group. He's the only player in the top 10 on the leaderboard through three rounds who has a final-round scoring average ranked into the top 15 on TOUR (70.00).

1:20 p.m. – Charles Howell III has just made a hole-in-one at No. 9. He used a 6-iron on the 190-yard hole for the ace which was his second of the year and fifth of his career. His other 2012 hole-in-one came at No. 7 in the final round of The Honda Classic.

12:52 p.m. – Jeff Overton bounced back from his lone bogey at the 17th hole to birdie No. 18 and post a 65 that had moved him 47 spots up the leaderboard when he finished. That will change, of course, as the day progresses but those six birdies and 14-footer for eagle at the seventh are a nice sendoff. 12:30 p.m. – The leaders won’t tee off for 75 minutes but already there are some low rounds in the works. Jeff Overton, Colt Knost and Mark Anderson are all 6 under – through 17, 16 and 12 holes, respectively.
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