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Thirty-foot putt wins the Memorial for Dufner

Golf

Jason Dufner continued his assault on the weather-hit Memorial Tournament on Sunday, rebounding from a dreadful 77 to close with a 4-under 68 and winning the PGA Tour event by three strokes.

Dufner clinched the win by saving par on No 18 with an incredible 30-foot putt from the middle of the green.

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Tournament host Jack Nicklaus hands Jason Dufner the Memorial trophy. Photo: Darron Cummings, APRickie Fowler hits out of a bunker on the 12th hole during the final round of the Memorial on Sunday. Photo: Darron Cummings, AP

“Those 30-footers are a little easier for me than the three-footers,” Dufner joked after his win.

Dufner’s 13-under 275 total gave him his fifth career US PGA Tour victory as he survived two rain delays on Sunday, including one that lasted 77 minutes and another which hit while he was playing his final hole.

Dufner, who won the 2013 PGA Championship, shot back-to-back 65s to take a five-stroke lead into Saturday’s third round.

But a horrendous four-hole bogey stretch beginning on No 2 was all it took to derail his third round. So he began the fourth round four shots adrift of Daniel Summerhays.

“Obviously yesterday wasn’t my best day,” Dufner said. “I was pretty disappointed, especially with how well I played the first two days, when I thought I was in good control.

“I had to get over it quick. It is a 72-hole tournament. I knew I was still in the mix. I just had to get myself together.

Jason Dufner reacts after making the winning putt on the 18th. Photo: Darron Cummings, AP


“Making the turn at even was good. Then I felt comfortable to get aggressive on the back nine.”

Dufner, who turned pro in 2000, didn’t win his first tournament until his 164th start at the 2012 Zurich Classic.

When he walked off 18, after draining his long putt, the first person to greet him was tournament host and 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus. “To be honest, I didn’t start playing golf until the late ’90s,” Dufner said. “I knew about him, but didn’t get to see him play in his prime.”

India’s Anirban Lahiri fired a 7-under 65 to finish in a tie for second with American Rickie Fowler, who shot 70.

Justin Thomas (72), and Matt Kucher (73) tied for fourth at 9-under 279, four shots adrift of Dufner.

Kyle Stanley (68), James Hahn (69), Bubba Watson (73) and Kevin Kisner (71), were at 8-under, and Graham DeLaet (68), Jamie Lovemark (73) and Summerhays (78) tied for 10th at 7-under.

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