Dufner continues near-flawless play


FORT WORTH, Texas – Jason Dufner opened with 65 on Day 1 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial to continue a streak of near-flawless play in recent weeks.

Counting The Players Championship, where he struggled on his way to a tie for 68th, Dufner has been under par in 10 of his last 13 Tour rounds and his 5-under card on Thursday left him a stroke behind frontrunner Zach Johnson and in the mix to win his third event in his last four starts.

Not bad for a guy who began his Tour career going 0-for-156 before claiming his breakthrough title last month at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

The biggest difference in Dufner’s game the last few weeks has been his putting. Although he currently ranks 122nd in strokes gained putting, down from his 116th rank last year, he’s first in that category this week.

He was second in strokes gained putting in New Orleans, marking a shift that few outside of his inner circle saw coming.

“That strokes-gained statistic is about as accurate as you can get,” said Dufner, who is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday’s game between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.

 “(Putting is) not my favorite part of the game. Probably leads to a reason why it’s not the strongest part of my game. To win (the Nelson) kind of showed me that I can still be very competitive even with the weakness.”