Jason Dufner Wins at The Memorial

It was a busy week in golf, on and off the course.  Congrats to Jason on a great win on a tough golf course!  He becomes only the second Ohioan to win at Jack’s place.

Jason Dufner had to wait out two weather delays, but he won his fifth PGA Tour title Sunday at the Memorial Tournament. Here’s how the final round played out at Jack’s house:

Leaderboard: Jason Dufner (-13), Rickie Fowler (-10), Anirban Lahiri (-10), Justin Thomas (-9), Matt Kuchar (-9)

What it means: Dufner opened with a pair of 65s and set the 36-hole scoring record at the Memorial. He went into the weekend with a five-shot lead, but he started the final round four behind Summerhays after a shocking 77 on Saturday. But Dufner knew he still had a great chance to win, and he proved it on Sunday with four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine at Muirfield Village. Tied with playing partner Fowler heading to the par-5 15th, Dufner made birdies on 15 and 17 to take control of the tournament. After a second weather delay, Dufner came out and played a nervy closing hole. But he slammed home a 32-foot par putt on 18 to secure the win, and he joined tournament host Jack Nicklaus as the only Ohio-born champions of the Memorial.

Round of the day: Anirban Lahiri went out early and posted a bogey-free 65 to grab a share of second place. Lahiri needed a good week coming off of three straight missed cuts.

Best of the rest: Fowler played a solid front nine with three birdies and no bogeys, and he held the lead for a short time after another birdie on the par-5 11th. He was unable to capitalize on the par-5 15th after a bogey at the short par-4 14th, and Fowler made a closing bogey to drop back into a share of second place.

Biggest disappointment: Summerhays started the day with a three-shot lead and had a great chance to win his first PGA Tour title. But after a double on No. 3 and a bogey on 4, he started to wobble. Birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 got him back in the mix, but Summerhays came home with three back-nine bogeys and another double at 18 for a 78 to finish T-10.

Shot of the day: Dufner found the right rough off the 18th tee, and he tried to hack out of the thick stuff but advanced his second shot only 75 yards. His third shot from the rough landed on the green 32 feet away from the hole. That’s when Dufner stepped up and drained his longest putt of the week to win the title.

Quote of the day: “I had to get over it quick.” – Dufner on how he rebounded from a Saturday 77 to win.

Source:  Golf Channel

Daly leads by 1, seeking first win since 2004

Come on, Big John!  Get that win!!

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – John Daly says he’s not accustomed to seeing himself atop the leaderboard. He’s got a chance to do something else he hasn’t accomplished in a long time – win a golf tournament.

Daly shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry in the PGA Tour Champions’ Insperity Invitational. The 51-year-old, two-time major champion will try for his first victory on the senior tour – and his first since the PGA Tour’s 2004 Buick Invitational.

”It’s not a familiar place I’m in. It’s going to be great,” Daly said.

Especially if Daly keeps putting the way he has at The Woodlands. He’s had only one bogey the first 36 holes and closed the second round with six birdies on the final 12 holes to reach 11-under 133.

Daly said he’s got a putter ”that I absolutely love, and I’m rolling it really good, and you never know, next week it may not show up, but I like the way I’m rolling this putter.”

Perry eagled the par-5 first hole in a 65. He knocked a 5-iron to 15 feet in two and then made the putt. He followed that with a birdie on the second hole to keep close to the leader.

”Good way to open your round,” Perry said.

Jerry Smith was another stroke behind after a 66. Tommy Armour III was 8 under after a 67, and Miguel Angel Jimenez followed at 8 under after a 66. Fred Couples (68) topped the group at 6 under.

Daly joined the 50-and-over set last season at The Woodlands. He said he was getting used to courses he had not played much before and feels things are coming together this season. His two best finishes this year have come in his last two events with a 12th at Duluth, Ga., on April 16 and a 13th with partner Michael Allen at the Legends of Golf in Ridgedale, Mo.

He believes he’s more comfortable this season and hopes to show that in the final round Sunday.

”So I’m just going to kind of get a little more aggressive like I have been this week,” Daly said.

Source:  Golf Channel

DJ hopes to return to winning ways after injury

Will DJ be in action for the US Open..?

WILMINGTON, N.C. – This wasn’t the first time Dustin Johnson found himself on the disabled list. Nor was it his first dance with a competitive hiatus and the uncertainty of injury.

DJ missed the Masters in 2012 with a back injury he said he sustained while lifting a Jet Ski. All total, Johnson was off the shelf for nearly three months for that ailment, so the back injury that forced him to miss this year’s Masters should be easy to recover from by comparison, right?

But that logic ignores the 6-foot-4, 190-pound elephant in the room.

When Johnson walked off the putting green on Thursday at Augusta National last month he was the consensus man to beat after taking over the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking with his victory at Riviera. He’d won his previous three starts, including a pair of World Golf Championships with a Genesis Open high card.

He led the PGA Tour in every statistical category that matters, from driving distance to greens in regulation, and had become the kind of player others had started to eye wearily every time his name found its way on a leaderboard.

“Those kind of runs are more like what we saw from Tiger for so many years where he just continued to perform at a high level every time he pegged it up,” Adam Scott said on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

DJ’s also 32 years old.

That’s not old, not in golf years, particularly when Johnson has the physical prowess of a NFL cornerback. But when he slipped walking down the stairs of his rental house on the eve of the year’s first major it was more than his lower back that took a hit.

Although Johnson – who is making his first start this week since taking that tumble – is normally not one for esoteric thoughts, there were hints on Wednesday when he spoke at Eagle Point Golf Club that this most recent setback had a psychological toll.

“I was on a good roll, playing the best golf of my career leading into Augusta,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a lot more time off than I would have liked to have had. Still feel like I’m swinging really well, hit a few good shots out there today, but we’ll just have to see.”

For some the hardest part of expectations is trying to measure up to the external, and often unrealistic, pressures. For DJ, it was not getting the chance to prove he was worthy of all the acclaim that was the hardest part.

He’d been a player with untold potential for over a decade, but his victory last year at the U.S. Open seemed to brush away all of those missed opportunities. As he turned onto Magnolia Lane last month there was a unmistakable sense of confidence.

With a single step that unstoppable train took an unexpected detour.

Despite that disappointment, it doesn’t appear as if doubt, which has never been a part of DJ’s DNA, will play a role in his return.

He admitted that there were a few dark moments as he watched the closing drama last month at the Masters, but few, if any, are able to compartmentalize like Johnson.

“It just happens. Crazy things happen,” he said. “The only time it was maybe tough was just watching the tournament, but after watching it after Sunday, it’s been fine.”

Johnson said he didn’t feel entirely comfortable with his swing until last Friday and needed the better part of three weeks before he was able to train and practice like he wanted.

Claude Harmon III – who works with Johnson between sessions with his father, Butch – spent last Friday with DJ at the Floridian in south Florida practicing and playing nine holes.

“He looks good, pretty much normal. His speed looks almost 100 percent,” Harmon said. “He joked and said he is still going for four in a row, so I like the way he’s thinking.”

There’s no reason to think Johnson can’t pick up where he left off, but previous form and current fortune are often mutually exclusive.

Johnson’s WD at the Masters marked the sixth time the world No. 1 has missed a major and historically the “next start” is a mixed bag. Greg Norman posted the only top-10 (T-9 at the PGA Championship) after missing the 1988 Open.

Johnson would have history on his side here, having won his second start back in ’12 (FedEx St. Jude Classic) after injuring his back and few would consider one of the game’s most fit players a physical liability regardless of his health status.

“I expect to play well. I feel like I haven’t practiced much, but I’ve practiced enough to compete,” Johnson said.

This most recent brush with mortality was different than past experiences. This time, the stakes and expectations, both internally and otherwise, were higher; but for Johnson only the calendar has changed.

Source:  Golf Channel