A WEEK before his wedding, America’s Jason Dufner has lost his US PGA Tour virginity with his maiden win in a playoff against a man who has done it all before, South Africa’s Ernie Els.
Dufner gets married next Saturday but in true golfing style the honeymoon will have to wait till later in the year.
“It’s hard to schedule a wedding in the middle of the season. There’s a lot of great events out here. It seems like there’s a big event or Major right around the corner every week now until, you know, Augusta,” the 35 year old said.
Such devotion to the great game should be rewarded and so it was today after Dufner and Els had finished even on 19-under in regulation at the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Dufner had started the day at the TPC Louisiana with a two stroke lead and posted a solid if unspectacular 2-under 70 while a sprightly 42 year old Els hit a 5-under 67.
The American had been on the tour for six years and had three second placings under his belt while three-time Major winner Els was looking for what would have been his 19th tour win after a two year dry spell.
It took two playoff attempts on the par five 18th hole before Dufner had a foot long birdie putt to take the championship.
“It was tough trying to get this first win, it was tough for about six years now,” Dufner told a television interviewer immediately afterwards. “It’s a monkey off my back.”
While the honeymoon has to wait, the wedding ceremony will certainly benefit both monetary wise with the US$1,152,000 winner’s cheque and maybe with some added exuberance from the perennially laid-back Dufner.
“[Weddings] are a little built more expensive than I thought or had imagined but, you know, it’s just a great way to start our week leading up to the wedding next week and bit of a gift for [wife Amanda] and a bit of a gift for me and I think it will be, you know, a big celebration not only for our marriage but also for my first victory out on TOUR..” Dufner said.
Donald back as World No.1
Meanwhile, England’s Luke Donald also managed a 5-under 67 to take outright third place and regain his World No.1 ranking from Rory McIlroy.
The USA’s Ryan Palmer (69) and Canada’s Graham DeLaet (71) were tied for fourth on 16 under.
Australia’s Greg Chalmers shot a course record equalling 64 in the second round to be hovering at the top of the leaderboard but came home with a 72 and 73 on the weekend to finish on 9-under tied for 30th.
He still finished as the best placed Aussie in front of John Senden who closed with a 3-under 69 to be T39, Geoff Ogilvy (68), Matt Jones (71) and Stuart Appleby (73) all equal on 7-under tied for 45th.
The tour now moves to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship where the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Jason Day and Aaron Baddleley will be back on deck in the week leading up to the 2012 Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida.Zurich Classic of New Orleans Final Results