After historic round, Jason Dufner heads to weekend looking to add PGA champion to his resume

  • Article by: PAUL NEWBERRY , AP National Writer
  • Updated: August 10, 2013 - 11:48 AM

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Jason Dufner is that guy who got caught on camera slumped against a classroom wall, gazing straight ahead with a blank stare, arms rigidly by his side.

"Dufnering," they called it.

He became an Internet sensation.

Maybe by the time he leaves Oak Hill, Dufner will be known as something else.

Major champion.

On Friday, Dufner came up about 18 inches short of a feat that's never been done — shooting 62 in a major championship. As it was, he tied the scoring record with a 7-under 63 that pushed him to the lead midway through the PGA Championship.

"To join history, to shoot 63 in a major, that's pretty unbelievable," Dufner said. "To be leading the tournament, even better."

He headed to the weekend with a two-stroke edge over Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar, while eight other players were lurking within five shots of the lead.

Tiger Woods was nowhere close. After two mediocre rounds in prime scoring conditions, he began Saturday 10 shots behind — and promptly made bogeys at the first and third holes on a warm, sunny day in western New York.

For Dufner, this is a chance to shake off the low point of his pro career, when he squandered a four-stroke lead with four holes to play at the 2011 PGA in Atlanta.

After losing to Keegan Bradley in a playoff, Dufner didn't seem too upset. He said matter-of-factly that he expected to get more chances on the major stage.

Well here he is, two years later, back in contention for the title that slipped away.

"What's happened in the past with me in majors is in the past," Dufner said. "I'm still trying to chase it, still trying to learn from the mistakes I made in prior majors."

There weren't many mistakes on Friday. Dufner holed out from the fairway for eagle, rolled in a putt across the green for par and kept making birdies — five in all — until he stood 12 feet away from a shot at the lowest score in the 153 years of championship golf. He didn't give it a chance, acknowledging a case of the nerves for the first time all day.

Not even the tap-in for par was a gimme, the ball coming off the putter weakly before diving into the right corner of the cup.

"You couldn't have a better putt for a chance at history on the last hole," Dufner said. "I just didn't quite hit it hard enough."

Dufner didn't feel disappointed for long.

At rain-softened Oak Hill, where pelt-sized divots were flying and birdies were falling, Dufner tied the 36-hole record (9-under 131) at the PGA, a mark he now shares with six other players.

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  • Jason Dufner lines up a putt on the eighth hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, in Pittsford, N.Y.

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