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May 23 2012

9:06 PM

FedExCup: Lead is Dufner's ... for now

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Jason Dufner took over the FedExCup lead last week with his second victory of the season.
FEDEXCUP: Standings | Who's up, down? | Leaders | 2012 Winners | More By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Jason Dufner knows the race for the FedExCup is more marathon than sprint. But that doesn’t mean a good mid-year surge can’t be the difference between success and an early exit in the Playoffs. “Being No. 1 is a great position to be in,” Dufner said following his victory at Sunday’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. “But we're maybe a little more than halfway through, so we have a long haul on that.” Dufner’s right. The TOUR is 22 events into a 37-event Regular Season that leads to up to the four-week FedExCup Playoffs. He is certainly in a favorable position, however. Only one player in the five-year history of the FedExCup has led at this point in the season and failed to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and an opportunity to win the FedExCup. That was Tiger Woods, who didn’t make another start in 2008 after winning the U.S. Open. The FedExCup leader’s work isn’t done (he has 1,435 points and it took nearly 1,600 to qualify for last year’s TOUR Championship), but he’s currently in the driver’s seat for golf’s richest prize. With two wins in his last three starts, Dufner’s hot streak should put him in great position for Aug. 23 when the Playoffs get under way. TOMS RETURNS: David Toms went on a Dufner-esque run about this time last year. After coming up just short at THE PLAYERS, losing in a playoff to K.J. Choi, Toms made his way to Colonial and opened with twin 62s to vault him into the winner’s circle for the first time since 2006. Toms, before THE PLAYERS last year, was No. 56 in the FedExCup ranks. He left Colonial at No. 4 and hung around the top 10 all the way into the Playoffs where he finished No. 20 overall -- the second best finish of his career. THIS WEEK: A FedExCup lead is rarely safe and Dufner’s advantage is no different. With five other members of the FedExCup top 10 (No. 2 Hunter Mahan, No. 6 Matt Kuchar, No. 7 Carl Pettersson, No. 8 Johnson Wagner and No. 9 Rickie Fowler) in the field, as well as No. 12 Kyle Stanley, there are six players looking to knock Dufner out of the top spot at Colonial.
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