Dufner leads PGA after historic 7-under 63

By Doug FergusonAugust 10, 2013, 12:24 am

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Nothing was dull about the way Jason Dufner played golf Friday at the PGA Championship. If anything, it was historic.

Dufner holed out from the fairway for eagle, rolled in a putt across the green for par and kept making birdies until he stood 12 feet away from a shot at the lowest score in the 153 years of championship golf. One last birdie attempt didn't even get to the hole, and Dufner had to settle for a record-tying round of 7-under 63.

''Probably the worst putt I hit of the day, which is a little disappointing,'' Dufner said. ''But all in all, it's a 63, and name on top of the leaderboard. So that's a great position to be playing form.''

It was the third time in the last seven years at the PGA Championship that a player had a putt at becoming the first player to shoot 62 in a major. Tiger Woods circled the hole at Southern Hills in 2007. Steve Stricker narrowly missed at Atlanta Athletic Club two years ago.

Dufner didn't feel disappointed for long.

On a rain-softened Oak Hill, where pelt-sized divots were flying and birdies were falling, Dufner surged to a two-shot lead over Masters champion Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar. At 9-under 131, Dufner tied the 36-hole record at the PGA Championship he now shares with six other players.


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Dufner was alone at the top, and in the company of some big names in history.

His 63 broke the course record at Oak Hill held by Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange and Webb Simpson, who shot 64 about five hours earlier. Dufner became the 24th player to shoot 63 in a major - Greg Norman and Vijay Singh, both in the Hall of Fame, did it twice.

And through it all, he barely cracked a smile.

''He's very calm,'' said Stricker, who played alongside Dufner. ''I'm sure he was churning on the inside. He just told me while we were signing our cards, he was like, 'This is a lot for a Friday.'''

The possibilities were endless on a day that began with three hours of a steady rain until the sun broke through and took all the bite out of Oak Hill.

Simpson also had a chance at 63 until he made a bogey on the 16th hole of his round. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot 29 on the front nine to get back into contention. When the second round finally ended, 27 players remained under par - this on a course that is stubborn when it comes to par. In five previous majors at Oak Hill, only nine players have finished the tournament in red numbers. Jack Nicklaus did it twice.

For all the low scores, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were left behind.

Woods couldn't get anything going, exchanging birdies with bogeys during a poor putting round that led to an even-par 70. He was at 1-over 141 and 10 shots back going into the weekend. Woods went to the range with his swing coach, trying to find answers. He has only one score in the 60s in 14 rounds at the majors this year.

''Obviously, I'm going to have to put together a really good weekend,'' Woods said. ''This golf course is pretty soft. It's definitely gettable. Got to hit the ball in play and keep the ball near the hole so I can be aggressive with my putts.''

Mickelson's swing apparently went missing in the three weeks since he won the British Open. He was all over Oak Hill and still managed a 34 on the back nine until his wild shots caught up with him. Another 71 left him 11 shots out of the lead.

Dufner was in prime position to win the PGA Championship two years ago when he had a four-shot lead with four holes to play, only to be tracked down by Keegan Bradley and then beaten in a playoff. Dufner said that day he would only be disappointed ''if I never get another chance.''

And here he is, in record fashion.

Dufner's popularity has grown the last two years because of his zombie state. He was responsible for the craze known as ''Dufnering'' in April when someone took a photo of him slumped against a classroom wall, eyes in a daze, during a charity event at an elementary school as the teacher taught children how to relax and concentrate.

But there were nerves, no doubt, and Dufner showed them at the very end.

A 6-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole put him at 7 under for the round, and his 15-foot birdie putt on the next hole grazed the cup. He followed with two flawless swings on the tough 18th hole, which had yielded only four birdies at that point. That left him about 12 feet below the hole.

And he left it short by about 18 inches. There even was a nervous moment on the tap-in, when the ball came off the putter weakly and dove in the right corner of the cup.

''It's tough when you're chasing history,'' Dufner said. ''You will be the first one to do something. I don't think I've been the first to do anything in my life. So it was a little nerve-racking for a Friday. It's usually the pressure you might feel toward the end of the tournament.''

That part is still to come.

Low scores were available to anyone. Even after Dufner finished his round, K.J. Choi had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to reach 7 under. It narrowly missed, and Choi made bogey on the next hole to end that threat.

Scott is swinging the club beautifully, and his only flaw Friday was not holing enough birdie chances when the rain stopped. Even so, he was in the hunt on the weekend for the fourth time in the last six majors. He will be in the final group with Dufner on Saturday.

Henrik Stenson, a runner-up at Muirfield, had a 66 and joined Rose at 6-under 134, only three shots behind. Stricker and Robert Garrigus were another shot behind.

Dufner is a student of golf history and was thrilled to part of it. But while that 63 put him in the record book, it doesn't guarantee the trophy. Of the 25 previous times that someone shot 63 in a major, only five players went on to win - Nicklaus and Johnny Miller in the U.S. Open, Norman in the British Open and Woods in the PGA Championship.

Now that's some elite company.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


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It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


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''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.