Round 4 - Jason Dufner wins by three shotsJune 5, 2017
Jason Dufner spent quality time on the practice range that played in a big role in his victory at the Memorial.
It had nothing to do with his swing.
This was about beating balls to burn off the anger from a 5-over 77 in the third round that looked as though it might cost him the tournament. His pulse back to normal, which for Dufner means barely beating, he bounced back in a big way Sunday.
He stayed in the game during a wild stretch early, and then hit the ball so pure that he hit every green until the 18th and only once had a birdie putt over 12 feet. And then he capped off his 68 with a 30-foot par putt for a three-shot victory.
''Yesterday was not my best day,'' Dufner 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.''
The recap shows what an up-and-down week it was for Dufner.
He set the 36-hole record at Muirfield Village on Friday and built a four-shot lead. The 77 on Saturday dropped him four shots behind. And he wound up winning by three shots over Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri.
''It was important for me not to leave this golf course angry and upset,'' Dufner said. ''I needed to leave it at the golf course yesterday, I felt like, and to move on. It would be best for me today. It wasn't something that I planned or that I thought about, it's just that's what I felt like I needed to do.
Dufner finished at 13-under 275 for his fifth PGA Tour victory, and he earned mentions with Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo. He joined Nicklaus as the only Ohio-born winners of the Memorial, the tournament Nicklaus created in 1976 and won twice. And not since Faldo in the 1989 Masters had anyone shot a 77 in the third round of a PGA Tour event and still gone on to win.
He was happier about the first reference.
''I'll always have a close place in my heart for this event, being a champion now,'' Dufner said. ''It will be very special for me to look back and know that I'm part of an event that Mr. Nicklaus put on out here on the PGA Tour.''
''I think he probably likes this one better than Augusta right now,'' Nicklaus said.
''It's paying a little better,'' Dufner replied.
He earned $1,566,000, the largest paycheck of his career.
Fowler, in prime position to force a playoff on the 18th hole by making birdie, instead made bogey after Dufner ended it with his big par putt. Fowler shot 70 and tied for second with Lahiri, who closed with a 65 before both of the two rain delays that lasted a combined 2 1/2 hours.
Justin Thomas missed consecutive short birdie putts that stopped any momentum he had. Matt Kuchar fell back with three bogeys on the back nine. They finished another shot behind. Daniel Summerhays, who began the final round with a three-shot lead, began the back nine with two straight bogeys, and he finished with a double bogey for a 78 to tie for 10th.
Dufner got back into the mix quickly when Summerhays lost his three-shot lead after four holes. Over the next five hours because of the rain delays, four players had at least a share of the lead and seven players were in the hunt.
Dufner had one stretch on the front nine of bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey. He played the front nine in even par, and then he came to life. He is better with the putter, though his strength remains his iron play, and it was close to perfect.
''I feel like if I wanted to have a chance to win today that I needed to hit it close,'' he said.
He stuffed his approach on No. 10 to 4 feet and holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 12th. After missing a pair of birdie chances in the 12-foot range on the next holes, he hit the par-5 15th in two and two-putted for birdie from 40 feet to take the lead.
Fowler fell back when he missed the 14th green long and took bogey, and then hit his fairway metal into the gallery on the 15th and failed to make birdie. Dufner gave himself a cushion on the 17th with his best drive of the day and a wedge to 3 feet.
He made it more exciting than he preferred on the 18th by driving into thick rough just short of the bunker, and hacking out into more rough. He put his third shot to just over 30 feet on the 18th. Fowler, who pulled his wedge left of the green, had Dufner go first to make sure Fowler would have needed to hole the birdie chip to have a chance. Dufner ended the suspense with a putt and a rare show of emotion, slamming down his fist.
''I made the swings and couldn't convert and make the birdies,'' Fowler said. ''But to see him make the putt on the last was cool.''
Round 3 - Daniel Summerhays takes over leadJune 4, 2017
Daniel Summerhays seized a three-shot lead at the US PGA'S Memorial tournament Saturday as overnight leader Jason Dufner ballooned to five-over par 77 in the third round.
Dufner had started the day with a commanding five-shot lead over Summerhays at Muirfiled Village in Dublin, Ohio.
But Summerhays, in search of a first US PGA Tour title, was tied for the lead after five holes thanks to four quick bogeys for Dufner and his own birdie at the fifth.
Summerhays carded a four-under par 68 for a 13-under par total of 203.
He was three shots clear of Matt Kuchar, who carded a 67 for 206.
Kuchar, the 2014 Memorial champion, is seeking an eighth career PGA Tour win and his first since the Heritage in 2014.
"I drove it really well," Summerhays said. "I had so many good looks at birdie. So many putts were just so close. I really wasn't out of position too much all day.
"Performing under the gun -- it was really fun."
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson signed for a 68 and headed a group on 207 that also included Justin Thomas and Dufner -- whose dismal round included a double bogey seven at the par-five 11th and a bogey at the 18th, where the 2013 PGA Championship winner was in the water off the tee.
Summerhays has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead three times on the PGA Tour, but has never gone on to win.
"There will definitely be nerves," he said of the final round. "I'll probably hit a few putts with the hands shaking and everything like that. But it's nothing I haven’t experienced before."
He said he'll call on memories of two major championship performances last year -- his tie for eighth at the US Open and his solo third place finish at the PGA Championship.
"Last summer was a big deal for me," Summerhays said. "Playing in the last two or three groups at the US Open, that was probably the most nervous I've ever felt. That and trying to keep my job back in 2011 after my rookie year at Q-School.
"And then coming down the stretch at the PGA Championship last year, having a chance to honestly win until Jimmy (Walker) and Jason (Day) kind of pulled away right at the last minute."
But he'll also be aware of just how treacherous Muirfield Village can be -- as evidenced by Dufner's tough day.
"A trainwreck can happen at any moment," Summerhays said.
Round 2 - Jason Dufner vaults five clearJune 3, 2017
Jason Dufner wanted to put together more than just a few good rounds this week at the Memorial.
The first two put him in the record book.
Dufner holed out from 176 yards on the 18th hole for an eagle, and then added three more birdies on the front nine at Muirfield Village for another 7-under 65, giving him the 36-hole scoring record at the Memorial and a five-shot lead going into the weekend.
He was at 14-under 130, one shot better than the record previously held by Rickie Fowler (2010) and Scott Hoch (1987). Neither wound up winning the tournament.
Daniel Summerhays made bogey on his last hole and shot 69 to finish five shots behind Dufner. Fowler (66) was another shot behind.
Jordan Spieth was one shot out of the lead after the opening round. He already was eight shots back when he teed off, and all he managed was a 72. Spieth and Justin Thomas (71) were tied for fourth and eight shots behind.
''Duf is obviously in full control of the ball tee to green, and you've got to be making some putts, too,'' Spieth said. ''He had two fantastic days. He's a major champion and a multiple PGA Tour winner, he's going to be a tough guy to chase down. But again, playing with the lead on this golf course I imagine is going to be difficult.''
Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player, won't have to chase him. Coming off a 78 - and his first round without a birdie in nearly four years - Johnson couldn't get anything going and shot 74 to miss the cut by five shots.
''I hate missing cuts,'' Johnson said.
At least he had time on his side. Johnson was headed up to Wisconsin for the weekend to see Erin Hills for the first time. His fiancee, Paulina Gretzky, is expecting their second child next week before he returns for his title defense in the U.S. Open.
Zach Johnson dug deep to make the cut on the number with four birdies on his last five holes. So did Tony Finau, who birdied his last three. They all have a long way to go to get to Dufner.
The shot that got the most attention was Dufner's 6-iron that he holed on No. 18 for his eagle. With a back left pin, the shot fit what he was trying to do, and he said the bonus was that it found the bottom of the cup.
The key to his great play was his putting, something Dufner rarely says. When asked about it at Kapalua to start the year, Dufner said: ''I've been putting bad for 17 years. It's tough to change.''
He managed with the help of a friend who sent him some research from a doctor who works with snipers in the Marines, and how they focus primarily on their breathing and their heartbeats. Dufner found his worst trait in putting was not having a consistent routine and getting too fast, almost as if he wanted to get it over with quickly.
''I think the one thing that also helps is it gives me something to think about other than my stroke or holing this putt or the situation I'm in,'' Dufner said. ''Subconsciously, I'm just putting. But I'm more focused on my breathing and I'm at with that.''
He said the goal presumably is to keep his heartbeat low, a real challenge for a guy who barely has a pulse in the first place.
''I've never had anybody measure it,'' he said. ''But I know that there's been times with my putting that the thought process and my actions have felt like they've been sped up and too quick. And I'm trying to slow down and focus on that breathing. It's been working. I've been using it all year. This is the first time I've said anything about it. Some days I'm better with it than others. You think it would be pretty easy to be consistent with that, but some days it's not.''
Fowler started the tournament with a triple bogey on his second hole and he was 3 over through four holes when he turned it around Thursday for a 70. He was back out Friday morning and shot 66 and walked off the course the closest player to Dufner, even if it wasn't very close.
Fowler and Dufner lived under the same roof during the winter months when Dufner came down to south Florida play some golf. They are good friends with personalities as different as hard rock and easy listening.
''We got to spend a decent amount of time together and that was fun,'' Fowler said. ''He's one of a kind. He's one of the best guys I know out here. ... Because he's fairly quiet on the course, you don't get to really see who he is as a person. He's one of the funniest guys out here, too. But fan-wise you wouldn't really see that. The way he carries himself is pretty chill and mellow.''
He very quietly took only 130 shots over two days.
Dufner, who grew up in northern Ohio, missed the cut the first two times he played Muirfield Village. He skipped the next three chances at the Memorial, but didn't have a choice in 2013 when he won the PGA Championship and earned a spot in the Presidents Cup that was held on the course Jack Nicklaus built.
Dufner spent that week asking his teammates how they played the course. Dufner posted a 3-1 record that week, and when he returned to the Memorial in 2014, he was at par or better over his next six rounds. He still doesn't have a top 10, but he has figured something out.
Round 1 - Jason Dufner & David Lingmerth top leaderboardJune 2, 2017
Jason Dufner putted for birdie on every hole until the last one at the Memorial, a game so under control it looked as simple as breathing.
Even with a bogey on the final hole, Dufner had a 7-under 65 for his best score Thursday at Muirfield Village, giving him a tie for the lead with David Lingmerth. They were one shot ahead of Jordan Spieth, whose short game is starting to return with the U.S. Open around the corner.
Lingmerth, whose first PGA Tour victory came at the Memorial two years ago, also bogeyed his last hole on an ideal day for scoring.
Starting quickly at the Memorial is nothing new for Dufner lately. He opened with a 66-67 two years ago before fading on the weekend. Last year, he opened with a 68.
''I can put a couple of rounds together here,'' Dufner said. ''But I'm looking for more than that this week. Hopefully, we can keep it going for four.''
Dustin Johnson and Jason Day want to make sure they get to play for rounds.
Johnson three-putted after putting his tee shot into the water on the par-3 16th and made triple bogey. He three-putted from 4 feet on the sixth hole and made double bogey. And he didn't make a single birdie in his round of 78.
It was the first time in nearly four years - since the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013 - that Johnson failed to make a birdie.
Day, who has yet to crack the top 25 at the club where he holds a membership, made bogeys on both par 5s on the back nine and was headed for a big score until he birdied his last two holes for a 75.
Dufner nearly hitting every green in regulation is not surprising with his efficient swing. He recalls hitting 17 in a row in a round at Muirfield Village a few years ago until the 18th hole, and it got him again Thursday. He even went for a slightly longer club, a 7-iron instead of an 8-iron, but the contact wasn't pure and he came up short in a bunker. He blasted out 12 feet by the hole and missed his par putt.
''I'm OK,'' Dufner said. ''I'll get over it.''
Calm as ever, Dufner was mostly pleased with taking the stress out of his putting by not having any tough par putts. He attributes that to hard work, which is mainly working on his breathing.
A bad day of breathing is short and quick. He prefers a slow, rhythmic breath and a process of counting to two on the exhale and pulling the trigger. He said it was similar to snipers who focus mainly on the heartbeat and breathing.
''It's been working,'' he said. ''It's been working all year. Some days I do it better than others. Today, I was really focused on it.''
Lingmerth, a playoff winner over Justin Rose in 2015, got his name on the board quickly with four straight birdies on the front nine to turn in 31, and then he hit a 3-wood to 6 feet on the par-5 15th for an eagle. He had only two pars on the back nine.
''Obviously, having won here it brings back good memories,'' Lingmerth said. ''And the other years I've played here, I've always loved it. I haven't really contended all the way until Sunday those other years, but I've always felt good about this place. I feel confident out here. I roll the ball really well on the greens.''
Daniel Summerhays joined Spieth at 66, while Justin Thomas and Lucas Glover were at 67.
Phil Mickelson, playing the second of four straight weeks through the U.S. Open, had a relatively calm day in his round of 70. Rickie Fowler had anything but a calm day. He was 3 over through four holes, answered with four birdies over his next five holes, then traded birdies and bogeys on the back nine until finishing with one last birdie for a round of 70 that featured just six pars.
Spieth missed the cut at The Players Championship and at his hometown event in the AT&T Byron Nelson, and he was on the verge of going home early at Colonial until turning it around. He wound up finishing one back of Kevin Kisner, and Spieth brought his form to Ohio.
He needed a little help along the way, mostly the pin getting in the way of a tough bunker shot on the par-3 12th. It dropped for a birdie. He ended his back nine with a pair of bogeys, then finished in style with four birdies over his last five holes.
''I felt like I scored the way I played today,'' Spieth said. ''I got an awesome break on my third hole today, No. 12. I didn't have much of a chance to stop the bunker shot unless it hit the pin and it dunked. That saved me a couple of shots. I figured it could be a good day when your off shots you're making birdie on.''
|T19||USA||Harold Varner III||-4||-||73||71||70||70||284|
|T40||TPE||Cheng Tsung Pan||1||-||76||68||70||75||289|
|T57||USA||D. A. Points||5||-||71||76||73||73||293|
|T67||KOR||K. J. Choi||8||-||78||69||75||74||296|
|CUT||ZIM||Brendon de Jonge||5||-||72||77||-||-||149|
|CUT||ESP||Rafael Cabrera Bello||6||-||79||71||-||-||150|
|CUT||USA||Billy Hurley III||10||-||79||75||-||-||154|
|CUT||USA||J. B. Holmes||10||-||76||78||-||-||154|
|RET||USA||J. J. Spaun||-34||-||38||-||-||-||38|