The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

August 12, 2013

Former Auburn golfer, Dufner, holds off Furyk at PGA for 1st major title

— PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Jason Dufner walked off the 18th green, after casually pumping his fists in what passed for a raucous celebration. There was a familiar face waiting for him.

The last time they met in this situation, it was Keegan Bradley accepting the Wanamaker Trophy.

This time, it belonged to Dufner.

Granted, it was two years later than it should have been. That only made it sweeter.

"I'm proud of you," Bradley said, giving his buddy a hug.

"Thanks a lot," Dufner replied. "It means a lot for you to be here."

With ice in his veins and a determination not to let another opportunity slip away, Dufner claimed his first major title with a two-shot victory over Jim Furyk in the PGA Championship on Sunday.

There was a certain symmetry to the way it went down, for Dufner to get the biggest win of his career in the very same tournament that produced his biggest heartache.

On a Sunday afternoon in 2011, Dufner strolled to the 15th tee at Atlanta Athletic Club with a four-shot lead in the PGA. He promptly dumped his ball in the water, while Bradley started making birdies up ahead. By the time they had both finished 72 holes, it was all even.

Bradley, of course, won the playoff.

Dufner kept insisting he would get another chance.

"I was probably over what happened in Atlanta, 95 percent of it, by the time we got back home," he said.

But, he conceded, "You always carry those scars with you."

They didn't show on a warm, sunny day at Oak Hill, a venerable course that Dufner considers one of his favorites.

After he rolled in a testy little 3-footer to save par at the first hole, he went on cruise control. His tee shots were long and accurate. His irons were dead solid perfect. If not for some shaky strokes with the putter, he would've won this thing by a much greater margin.

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