AVONDALE, La. – Jason Dufner’s first PGA Tour title defense has been an unmemorable one. For that, he blames his putting.
Even after a third-round 67 moved him up the leaderboard at the Zurich Classic, Dufner still expressed frustration with his game.
“I’m just not playing very good golf right now,” he said. “It’s nice to shoot 5 under, but I’m still not really close to where I want to be.”
A two-time winner last year, Dufner has slipped from 78th to 133rd in the Tour’s strokes gained-putting statistic. (He also hasn’t finished better than 12th.) Fed up with his performance on the greens, on Saturday he switched to the same putter Adam Scott used at the Masters – the Scotty Cameron Futura X Prototype – only in a conventional length and with the oversized SuperStroke grip.
In the third round, he needed 25 putts – his best performance of the week – and missed just twice from inside 10 feet.
“After two days, I just kind of went with it because it didn’t really matter – it couldn’t get much worse than the first two days,” said Dufner, who is at 8-under 208.
“Sometimes when you’re struggling with your putting, a change like that, to see something different, can make a difference. I haven’t been putting well at all this year. I’m trying to figure out how I can make some more putts, to get the ball started on the line I need to, and maybe this putter will make the difference, or maybe it won’t.”