Jason Dufner wins the PGA Championship at Oak Hill for his first major
Dufner trailed Jim Furyk by a shot overnight but beat his fellow American by two shots
Tiger Woods finished in a tie for 40th and British Open champion Phil Mickelson tied for 72nd
This time Jason Dufner hung on to the lead, and his reward was winning a first major at the PGA Championship.
Two years ago at the same tournament, Dufner led by five shots in the dying stages but he crumbled and eventually lost in a playoff to pal Keegan Bradley.
Although he’s not one for showing too much emotion, it hurt.
Having overtaken overnight leader Jim Furyk at Oak Hill on Sunday, Dufner carried an advantage down the stretch and didn’t buckle to beat his fellow American by two shots.
His 68, two under par, wasn’t as sizzling as his 63 on Friday that tied a low score at a major. However, it marked his third consecutive strong final round at a major – he hit 67s at the British Open and U.S. Open. Overall he registered a 10-under-par 270.
His lone two bogeys came on the last two holes, when he could afford be cautious.
“To come back from a couple of years ago, when I lost to Keegan in the playoff, feels really, really good,” Dufner said in a televised interview. “I’m privileged to play in these tournaments and it is a great feeling to win one.”
Dufner’s celebration was typically low key. He hugged wife Amanda and received a congratulatory hug from Bradley.
“I decided I was going to be confident, put my best foot forward, be aggressive and try to win this thing, not be scared or too soft,” Dufner said. “I’m happy to get the job done and it is a big step in my career.”
Furyk held a one-shot lead entering the final day. By no means was his round poor – he finished at one-over 71 – but he couldn’t match Dufner.
Bogeys on the last two holes didn’t help.
“I needed to keep the pedal down and make pars there and keep the pressure on him and I just didn’t do it,” Furyk was quoted as saying by AFP.
He also couldn’t maintain his lead at last year’s U.S. Open, although Furyk at least owns a major.
Swede Henrik Stenson came third, three shots behind Dufner, with Jonas Blixt, another Swede, a further shot adrift.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, will see his drought at majors extend to six years after he finished in a tie for 40th.
Woods, still stuck on 14 majors, finished with an even-par 70.
“Is it concerning? No,” he told the Golf Channel. “As I’ve said, I’ve been there in half of them. So that’s about right.
“If you are going to be in there three quarters or half of them with a chance to win on the back nine, you have just got to get it done.”
Woods dealt with an elbow injury earlier in the summer and said he played Sunday with a stiff back.
“It’s been tight all day,” the world No. 1 said. “Just one of those things.”
Fresh off his success at the British Open, Phil Mickelson couldn’t repeat his heroics at the PGA Championship.
But if it was any consolation, Mickelson concluded with a 72, six shots better than Saturday. He tied for 72nd, better than a mere two players who survived the cut.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy had an outside shot of catching the leaders, six shots behind Furyk entering Sunday.
But his hopes faded following a triple-bogey seven at the fifth.