Dufner Earns Highest Ever Finish For Auburn Golfer At A Major
Aug. 14, 2011
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Jason Dufner recorded the highest finish for an Auburn golfer in a PGA Tour major Sunday, placing second at the 2011 PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
The class of 2000 economics major fell to Jupiter, Fla., native Keegan Bradley in a three-hole playoff after tying at 8-under through regulation. The result, however, guaranteed Dufner invitation the 2012 Masters and moved him 13 spots up the FedExCup standings into 25th.
"I have a lot of things ahead of me," said Dufner. "I'm young, not as young as Keegan is, but I have a lot of time to play golf and hopefully I'll have more time to win majors and use what happened today as a positive."
"I don't feel like I was nervous. I knew what was at stake. I was confident with my game but just didn't quite execute a couple of shots coming in."
Dufner's second-place showing surpassed John Huston's tie for third at the 1989 Masters as the best result at a major for a former Auburn student-athlete. Dufner also ties Huston for most major top-fives by a former Tiger after tying for fifth at the 2010 PGA Championship.
"I've got the rest of the playoffs this year, and I believe this gets me into all of the majors next year so that's a good opportunity to try to win more majors," said Dufner.
Dufner entered Sunday's final round of play tied for the lead with former UC-Riverside golfer Brendan Steele before separating himself from the pack midway through the final round. A pair of birdies on 12 and 13 gave Dufner a two-stroke lead over the field, however a series of late-round bogeys allowed a comeback from the eventual champion to force the playoff.
"Those are just tough holes," Dufner said of the final four-hole stretch. "Unfortunately, to play them 3-over coming in is a little disappointing. But there's a lot to be learned from this and a lot of experience to be gained from this. Keegan played great that stretch, and that's kind of what decided this tournament."
"I didn't feel like I was nervous. I was confident with my game, I just didn't execute my shots coming in."
Earning $865,000 Sunday, Dufner's 2011 earnings increased to over $2.5 million and places him 16th on the PGA Tour money list.
Dufner nearly holed out from the fairway with his second shot on the par-4, 16th, to start out the playoff but was unable to make his 6-foot birdie opportunity. Bradley followed, sinking his 4-footer to take the one-stroke advantage.
Dufner lost another stroke after three-putting the water-ringed 17th green. Although sinking a 20-footer for birdie on 18, the three-time All-SEC selection was unable to catch Bradley who made par to secure the win.
"You know, coming from where I came from, to be in this position, it's a dream come true," said Dufner. "I could never have imagined playing in major championships, playing with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods; that's a milestone to me itself. I'm not going to let this define my career."
In May, Dufner announced his "Birdies For 'Bama" tornado relief program. Funds will be directed for "Birdies for 'Bama" to Jason's new foundation, the Jason Dufner Charitable Foundation. Additional details on how to contribute or pledge with Jason will soon follow on his website, http://www.jasondufnercf.com. Jason will post updates on both his Twitter account, @JasonDufner, and through his Facebook group page, Jason Dufner.
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