Jason Dufner has never been one to show much emotion regardless of how things are going and that probably came in handy at Muirfield Village where he opened with matching 65s, tried to play himself out of the tournament with a Saturday afternoon 77 and then endured two weather delays before finally shaking Jack Nicklaus’ hand as the tournament winner just before darkness Sunday.
As difficult as things got for Dufner on Saturday (Nick Faldo in 1989 was the last player to win a tournament shooting 77 on Saturday), he made a point after the third round of saying he could still win the tournament and he proved it on Sunday.
“I was pretty disappointed, especially how well I played the first two days,” Dufner said. “I had to get over it quick. It’s a 72-hole tournament. A lot of things can happen out there. I just needed to get myself together.”
While everyone else seemed to hit roadblocks – Rickie Fowler bogeyed the short 14th with a wedge in his hand, third-round leader Daniel Summerhays had no momentum and Justin Thomas couldn’t hole the putts that mattered – Dufner stoically went about his business.
After waiting out a 1-hour, 17-minute rain delay, Dufner birdied the par-5 15th hole then staked himself to a two-stroke lead when he made a beautiful birdie at the par-4 17th, holing a 3-foot putt set up by a 357-yard drive.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 4, 2017
Acknowledging he has often fought his putting, particularly from short range, Dufner recently began using a breathing technique similar to what military snipers use. Dufner read a book on the subject and implemented a putting routine in which he consciously begins his stroke after exhaling.
And when Dufner holed a tournament-clinching 32-footer for par on the 18th hole after another weather delay, the fist pump and the big smile said it all.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 5, 2017