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May 24 2013

12:52 PM

Johnson, Dufner a familiar pairing

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
  4 72 74
2012 Deutsche Bank Championship 1 70 67
  2 71 66
2012 BMW Championship 1 67 72
  2 69 67
2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola 1 68 70
2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial 1 69 67

JOHNSON-DUFNER AT 2012 RYDER CUP

Match Result
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
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