Dufner Drains Walkoff Putt - Wins Memorial PDF Print E-mail


Jason Dufner poses with the crystal after winning at Muirfield Village

Dublin, Ohio - If all you saw was the first two rounds and the final

putt on Sunday you came away from the 2017 Memorial thinking it

was a Jason Dufner wire to wire snooze fest. Zero drama right?

Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was day three and

four of this tournament that included a collapse, two late final round

weather delays and an epic walkoff by the "Duf" himself.


It did indeed start out as a runaway by the former Auburn standout at

Jack Nicklaus' annual PGA Tour stop just outside of Columbus. In this

edition of the Memorial, Jason Dufner ran the tables in rounds one &

two with a pair of 65's - and led by five strokes entering Saturday.

It's a strange game, and after being in absolute cruise control Thursday

& Friday, the wheels came off on moving day. Dufner moved into

reverse shooting 77, allowing the field to swallow up his lead and leave

him searching for answers on the range late Saturday. He vowed not

to leave the course angry, so he worked through the process and re-

grouped for Sunday (now trailing by four shots).


On Sunday he bumped into Jack Nicklaus and declared "I'm still in

this thing, anything can happen, I still have a shot." Indeed, he did.

Dufner stood on the 72nd tee on Sunday with a two shot lead and

made his worst swing of the day - blocking his tee shot right, into the

nastiest rough on the property - leaving no other shot but a pitch out.

Then the horn sounded for rain delay #2. After 1 hour and 17 minutes,

the six remaining players resumed play at 8:05 eastern. Dufner

attempted to punch out to the fairway but never made it, he advanced

his ball about 90 yards but it was still in the rough. Meanwhile his

closest challenger - Rickie Fowler stood in the middle of the shortgrass

with just a wedge in hand. A birdie/bogey scenerio looked very possible

at this moment. Dufner hit his sand wedge approach (his 3rd shot) to the

middle of the green 32 feet away. Just as it looked like a playoff, Fowler

pulled his pitching wedge left of the putting surface completely short

siding himself in the thick stuff (instantly, birdie became a very unlikely

possibility). Dufner could likely end Fowler's hopes with a two putt bogey,

but stepped up and drained the long range bomb to seal the deal. Walk off

putt, GAME OVER!


It was the first time anyone had shot a third round 77 and won on tour

since Nick Faldo did it in 1989. Kenny Knox also did it in 1986 at the

Honda Classic.


As it turned out, Dufner shot a final round 68 to finish at -13, winning

by three shots. Afterward he discussed his thoughts about coming back

from his third round debacle, "Yesterday was not my best day," the 40

year old native of Ohio said. "But I had to get over it quick. It's a 72 hole

tournament, there's a lot of things that can happen out there. I knew I was

still in the mix."


Anirban Lahiri shot 65 on Sunday to finish tied with Rickie Fowler (70)

for 2nd at 10 under par. 54 hole leader Daniel Summerhays shot a final

round 78 to finish T10 at 7 under par.


Scores: http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html