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The Tour Report

March 17 2012

7:25 PM

Dufner comfortable coming from behind

Interview: Jason Dufner

Following his third-round 71, Jason Dufner talks with Bill Rosinski from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- There’s no question where Jason Dufner would rather be entering the final round of the Transitions Championship, and it’s not where he started his day.

Only four times this year has a leader or co-leader going into the final round gone on to win the tournament.

“It's been difficult this year, guys with the lead going into the final day have struggled,” said Dufner, who led at the start of the third round but shot an even-par 71 Saturday to sit a stroke off the lead. “Hopefully that is the worst round of the week.”

Dufner himself is 0-for-2 when leading after 54 holes.

“I think just patience and kind of sticking to what you've been doing the first three days,” Dufner said when asked what the hardest part about carrying a lead to the final round is. “I think sometimes guys tend to get a little less aggressive and a little bit more conservative. Maybe they make a bogey or two and then you start pressing again, which can lead to even more bogeys.”

For the first 36 holes, Dufner didn’t make a bogey at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.

Saturday, it took just five holes before he made one -- and it came on a par-5, where his second shot clipped a tree before he failed to save par from just off the front of the green.

Dufner did well to hold his round together, though. He made just one more bogey the rest of the round and added two more birdies.

Now he’ll try to do what he hasn’t been able to do in 159 previous starts: Win.

The key, Dufner said, will be to get off to a good start, which he should be able to do given that the par-5 first hole is the easiest on the golf course (Saturday was the only day he didn’t birdie it).

Then he’ll try to keep his mind and focus the same.

“You just really have to be patient, pick your spots and realize that there's a lot of golf left,” Dufner said. “Just want to stick with the same game plan you've had really.

“It's a bit of a mind game out there with yourself. You know what you're trying to do, but how do you control your emotions, control your mind and make good swings and make good putts, get yourself to do that is a difficult thing out here; that's the trick.”