DUFNER SURVIVES LATE CARNAGE
SUPER-COOL Jason Dufner tiptoed through the carnage on the closing holes at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, yesterday to his second tournament victory in three weeks, WRITES WILLIAM S CALLAHAN.
Dufner, 35, sank a 25 foot birdie putt at the 18th hole for a polished final round 67 which eased him to 11-under par and one stroke ahead of gutsy journeyman pro Dicky Pride, 42, as the HP Byron Nelson Championship came to a nail-biting climax.
The laconic Dufner notched his first PGA Tour title at last month's Zurich Classic of New Orleans and then got married the following Saturday.
JJ Henry, the American startled by a streaker at the last hole of the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club, had a hole-in-one (at the fifth) yesterday but frittered away the tournament lead with a double-bogey five at 17. He tied third on nine-under.
Phil Mickelson also fired-up the galleries before hitting a brick wall on the final two holes.
Mickelson, 41, was six-under through 16 and two shy of the lead before stumbling to a three-putt bogey four from 18 feet at 17. Then he hit his approach into water for another dropped shot at the last.
A closing four-under 66 left the 1996 Byron Nelson-winner tied seventh on six-under.
Padraig Harrington also dropped a couple of shots late-on. With two birdies and his card spotless through 14, the Dubliner's chances of a top-10 finish were stymied by a bogey out of trees left of the fairway at 15 and a three-putt from distance at 17.
Still, Harrington hit a wonderful 142 yards approach to inside three feet at 18 for the birdie which sealed a one-under par 69 and a share of 15th.