AKRON, Ohio – The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a home game for Jason Dufner.
And it has been a long time coming with this his first year qualifying to play in the event.
Dufner, 35, was born in Cleveland and raised in Olmsted Township before he moved away at 11 years old, but he still returned for the summers. He walked Firestone Country Club as a boy watching PGA Tour pros play the annual event here.
“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I would someday come back here and play,” Dufner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Coming to Firestone was always a big part of my summer.”
Dufner has lots of family and friends still in the area. He has filled numerous ticket requests this week.
“About 35 a day,” he said. “I haven’t really added them all up. I know it’s a lot.”
Dufner birdied his first hole Thursday morning. He is paired with Keegan Bradley, who came from behind to beat Dufner down the stretch of last year’s PGA Championship.