2013 PGA Championship
Jason Dufner didn't last long when he competed in the 1998 U.S. Amateur at Oak Hill. He qualified for match play, but was eliminated in the second round. Still, Dufner loved the East Course and really thought it fit his game, so when he returned 15 years later to play in the 2013 PGA Championship, he had a good feeling about the week.
"Guys tend to like golf courses that suit their games, and even then I felt like this place suited my game," he recalled of his experience at the Amateur. Turned out he was right. Dufner set a new 72-hole East Course stroke-play record with a 10-under 270 to edge Jim Furyk by two shots for his first major championship victory. Furyk at 272, and Henrik Stenson at 273, also bested Jack Nicklaus' 274 that had stood as the standard since the 1980 PGA.
Dufner electrified the huge galleries with a second-round 63 that set a new course record, wiping out the matching 64s shot by Ben Hogan (1942 Times-Union Open) and Curtis Strange (1989 U.S. Open). He missed a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 18 that would have given him the lowest score ever recorded in major championship history. "I know the history of major championships so I knew that nobody had shot 62, and the course record I had heard on TV earlier in the week," said Dufner. "So I knew where I stood and you couldn't have a better chance at history on the last hole. I wish I had that putt back again."
Furyk's third-round 68 gave him a one-shot lead on Dufner heading into the final round, but Dufner regained the lead after back-to-back birdies at Nos. 4 and 5. A Furyk birdie at No. 6 left both players at 10-under, but Dufner's birdie at eight, and Furyk's bogey at nine proved the difference as they produced identical scorecards over the final nine holes, each parring the first six, birdieing the 16th, and bogeying the 17th and 18th.
Thus, Dufner became part of Oak Hill lore, and he certainly appreciated what that meant. "They are very knowledgeable about their golf and the history of the game goes way back here in Rochester and it's great to be part of that," he said. -by Sal Maiorana
2013 PGA Championship Quercus