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Past flops don't deter PGA leaders Furyk and Dufner

By Agence France-Presse in Rochester, New York | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-12 07:09

 Past flops don't deter PGA leaders Furyk and Dufner

Jim Furyk celebrates after saving par on the 18th green during the third round of the 95th PGA Championship on Saturday in Rochester, New York. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images / AFP

Past flops don't deter PGA leaders Furyk and Dufner

American duo ready to atone for late stumbles at Oak Hill

Jim Furyk led four times after 54 holes last year and never won. Jason Dufner led the 2011 PGA Championship by four shots with four holes to play and lost.

But the Americans are in the final pairing in Sunday's last round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, each hoping to put past failures and the choker label behind them.

Furyk leads on nine-under 201 after a two-under 68 on Saturday with Dufner one shot back after shooting 71. Only four other players are inside six shots of Furyk, who like Dufner is known for a stoic, grim visage on the course.

"There's a lot of pressure. Me and Jim hide it pretty well," Dufner said. "Guys deal with it differently. I think it just comes from your personalities."

Furyk, the 2003 US Open champion, has not won any title since the 2010 US PGA Tour Championship, although he came close many times last year. He held a 54-hole lead at the US Open that led to a share of fourth.

"I'm not going to try to do that much different. Hopefully I perform better," Furyk said. "Hopefully down the stretch I stay within myself and hit some good shots. I need to get myself to the stretch playing well and hopefully with an opportunity to win."

At 43, Furyk has heard plenty of naysayers warn his major chances are running out, but Phil Mickelson won last month's British Open at the same age.

"You are going to get beat up in this game a little bit. You have to forget about it," Furyk said.

"I'm not in the grave yet. I'm going to have more opportunities ahead of me, in my mind. I'm going to have fun with it and enjoy the opportunity."

Last year's opportunities do not linger for Furyk.

"They are gone. I've made peace with that," he said. "Hopefully what I do is draw from that experience. I'm a more mature player now and hopefully I draw some positives from it. I'm a better person and better player for it."

Dufner's late PGA collapse two years ago at Atlanta Athletic Club ended in a playoff loss to Keegan Bradley after he led the field by four shots, and Bradley by five, with four holes to play.

"It was a tough situation," Dufner said. "I was young, new to doing the majors. That was the third or fourth major I played in. Hopefully the experience I've had since then will pull me through and give me a chance to win."

Dufner learned a valuable lesson with that failure.

"Patience is of the utmost importance on a Sunday in a major," he said. "A lot of guys have a chance to win this. It's a tough course. You don't have to play perfect to win these events. You are never really out of it. Even if you make a bogey or two, you can always come back and have a chance to win on the back nine."

Dufner has had a couple of near misses on the 18th hole, leaving a 12-foot putt for the first round of 62 in major golf history 18 inches short on Friday, then having a two-foot par putt on Saturday roll past the right side of the cup before curling back to drop in.

"Fortunate to have a ball on 18 kind of sneak in the back side of the cup for a par," Dufner said. "I definitely thought I missed it as it went by the hole. Gravity took over and it was perfect speed to fall in that back lip."

(China Daily 08/12/2013 page23)

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