By Ann Liguori
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It was a special day for Jason Dufner. The 36-year- old from Cleveland, Ohio made history in Friday’s second round, carding a ‘7 under 63’ which is the lowest round ever at Oak Hill, bettering Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange and Webb Simpson. Simpson shot a ‘64’ earlier in the day to tie the course record!
Dufner’s ‘63’ ties the all-time low score in a Major Championship. He became the 24th player to do it. He had a birdie putt on 18 to break the record, but it stopped a foot short of the hole and he admitted that nerves got in the way.
“To break the record here at a great place like Oak Hill with all the history, all the great players that have played here, it’s a pretty remarkable feat, I think, and something that I’ll always remember,” Dufner said afterwards.
His round featured an eagle on the par 4, second hole, where he hit a sand wedge from approximately 110 yards. He said the ball spun back about 30 feet and rolled into the cup. From there, he birdied holes 4, 5, 11, 13 and 16.
Dufner, a quiet, humble guy, broke a smile in the scorer’s room when playing partner Steve Stricker congratulated him. But in the interview room afterwards, his demeanor remained stoic.
Because of his fine play, his individuality and his quiet nature, his fan base has actually grown. “Yes, the last couple of years, I’ve got a lot of support. People have kind of latched on to my personality and how I play golf and how I carry myself,” he said.
Dufner, at 9 under for the tournament, leads Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk by two.
It would be great to see Dufner win a Major Championship. He had his chances two years ago at the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Dufner was ahead by 4 shots with 4 holes to play in the final round and he eventually lost to Keegan Bradley in a three hole play-off.
Dufner won the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He was fourth at the U.S. Open that year and tied for fourth at this year’s U.S. Open.
It was a magical day for the shy Ohio native. Maybe this weekend, he’ll be able to close it out and add ‘Major Championship’ to his resume.
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