Dufner stays hot at Colonial with 64, leads by two

By Associated PressMay 25, 2012, 11:09 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jason Dufner lists Ben Hogan as his hero.

At Hogan's Alley, Dufner had the lead halfway through the Colonial with a chance for a Texas two-step that only Hogan has accomplished.

Dufner had a bogey-free 6-under 64 on another windy day Friday to reach 11-under 129. A week after winning the Byron Nelson Championship, Dufner had a two-stroke lead over Zach Johnson – the 2010 winner who shot a 67.

The only player to win both PGA Tour events in the Dallas-Fort Worth market in the same year was Hogan in 1946.

''That would be great company to join, obviously,'' Dufner said. ''To have anything compared to him or be talked in the same sentence with him is something that would be pretty unique and special to me.''

With the way Dufner is playing these days, his game certainly is in a different class.

Both of Dufner's PGA Tour victories came in his previous three starts. He has led or shared the lead after 11 of his last 34 rounds.

''When I step to the first tee, I feel like I'm going to play a good round of golf. That's a nice way to play. It's a comfortable way to play,'' Dufner said. ''I'm just trying to be confident and think about the things I've been doing for almost a year now, and realize that those are the things that are making me successful out here, and not get too caught up in everything else that's going on around me.''

Johnson, who had an opening bogey-free 64, started the second round eagle-birdie-bogey. Then there was a four-hole stretch on the back nine when he alternated birdies and bogeys twice.

During the third round Saturday, Johnson will be paired with his buddy Dufner.

''He's got a good rhythm about him, about his game right now,'' Johnson said. ''But it's irrelevant who I play with. I'm not playing against him. I'm playing against the golf course and the conditions and the elements that are presented. So that's my focus.''

Two years ago, Johnson set the Colonial tournament scoring record at 21-under 259 en route to the last of his seven PGA Tour victories.

Van Pelt (64) and Tommy Gainey (67) were tied for third at 133, a stroke better than Tom Gillis (69).

Defending Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial champion David Toms shot a 71 and missed the cut at 5-over 145.

With the wind again blowing steady about 20 mph with higher gusts, Dufner stood in the middle of the fairway at No. 5, his 14th hole of the day. Dufner stepped back twice before changing clubs, then hit the approach to about 18 feet for his sixth and last birdie.

That is the end of Colonial's ''horrible horseshoe'' – as Nos. 3-5 are known because of their layout and with the longest par 4s sandwiching a 243-yard par 3.

Dufner has played those holes 4 under through two rounds, and wasn't even aware of the trio's reputation.

''It's just a product of playing well and having good control of my golf ball,'' he said. ''It doesn't really matter what holes you're playing.''

Starting on the back nine, Dufner had two birdies, a 5-footer at the 166-yard 13th hole and 7-footer at the 363-yard 17th. He then birdied Nos. 1-3 for the second day in a row.

''I got off to a great start. ... I had a chance to catch Dufner, is he not hot right now,'' said Gainey, who opened his round with three consecutive birdies before bogeys at Nos. 7 and 8. ''I got hot and then let a couple get away.''

After Colonial, Dufner – who got married between his two victories – plans to take a short break before beginning preparations for the next major. The U.S. Open is in three weeks at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The 35-year-old Dufner, who has moved up to 14th in the world, had consecutive weekend rounds of 75 at the Masters and tied for 24th after starting 69-70.

It was during the final round of the PGA Championship last August when Dufner had consecutive bogeys on holes No. 15-17. That cost him the lead and forced him into a three-hole playoff that he lost to Keegan Bradley.

''I think it helped me out a lot this year. It kind reaffirmed the things that I was doing was right, and I was on the right direction and right path,'' he said. ''I didn't think too much about losing. I just thought about all of the good things that happened. ... I think at the PGA kind of showed me that I could really play at a high level.''

Divots: Sergio Garcia, the '01 Colonial champ, followed his opening 66 with a 73. That included an 8 on the 387-yard ninth hole when he hit his approach into the water fronting the green, and then knocked his drop in there as well. ... Ben Crane (141), who lives just north of Fort Worth, finished his second-round 71 with an eagle at the ninth hole. He holed a wedge shot from 104 yards. ... Harrison Frazar missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 74. He still had a highlight Friday, a hole-in-one with an 8-iron at the 183-yard 16th. ... The last of 14 players to win both the Colonial and Byron Nelson Championship was Rory Sabbatini, at the 2007 Colonial and 2009 Nelson. When Hogan did it in 1946, the tournaments weren't played in consecutive weeks.

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Watch: Na punctuates caddie tiff with hole-out

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 11:10 pm

Microphones captured a fascinating and testy exchange between Kevin Na and his caddie, Kenny Harms, on Na's final hole of the first round of the Fort Worth Invitational on Thursday.

Na was in the right rough, 185 yards from the ninth green, which was guarded by water. He vacillated between a hybrid and an iron, but with either club he would have to hit "a 40-yard cut," as Harms termed it.

"Over the green's dead," Harms warned.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"It's not gonna go over the green, Kenny," Na replied.

Na finally settled on an iron and said to Harms, "As long as you're OK with this club."

"I'm not," Harms replied. "I'm not OK with either one of them."

"I'm going with this," Na ended the discussion.

He missed the green with his approach shot, but avoided the water. After taking a free drop away from the grandstand, he had 92 feet 3 inches to the cup and of course, holed the pitch shot for a birdie-3, a 62 and a one-shot lead at the end of the first round.