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Dufner conquers Oak Hill for first major title

Updated: 2013-08-12 15:33
( Agencies)

Dufner conquers Oak Hill for first major title

Jason Dufner of the US is kissed by his wife Amanda as they pose with the Wanamaker trophy after he won the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, Aug 11, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

ROCHESTER, New York - American Jason Dufner erased memories of his heart-breaking late collapse two years ago when he clinched his first major title by two shots in the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on Sunday.

One stroke behind playing partner Jim Furyk overnight, the ultra-laidback Dufner produced some scintillating approach play on the way to a two-under-par 68 and a 10-under total of 268 on the challenging East Course.

"It probably still hasn't hit me yet," Dufner said after being presented with the coveted Wanamaker Trophy which he hoisted high before kissing it. "I can't believe this is happening to me."

Dufner, 36, seized control with three birdies on the front nine and shut the door on his rivals with a steely display of precise shot-making, backed up by safety-first golf over the difficult closing stretch.

A stunning approach to a foot at the par-four 16th earned him his fourth birdie of the day and he could afford the luxury of bogeys at 17 and 18, two of the toughest holes on the course, as he secured his third victory on the PGA Tour.

After putting out on the 18th green, Dufner retrieved his ball from the hole before lifting both arms waist-high in celebration with his eyes closed and a faint smile on his face.

He was warmly embraced by his wife Amanda just off the green, followed by his good friend Keegan Bradley, the 2011 champion.

Dufner conquers Oak Hill for first major title

Jason Dufner of the US reacts as he wins the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament on the 18th green at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, Aug 11, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Dufner had lost out in a playoff to Bradley for that title at Atlanta Athletic Club where he had led by five strokes in regulation while playing the fourth-last hole.

"To come back from a couple of years ago in this championship, when I lost to Keegan in the playoff, to win feels really, really good. I just decided that I was going to be confident and really put my best foot forward," said Dufner, who became the 19th different winner in the last 21 majors.

"The last two holes were a little unfortunate. I wish I could've closed out with no bogeys but I am happy to get the job done. It's a big step for my career."

Former US Open champion Furyk, bidding at the age of 43 to win his first major crown in a decade, signed off with a 71 to finish alone in second place after struggling off the tee for much of a sun-splashed afternoon.

"I have no regrets. I played my heart out. I played a very, very solid tournament," said Furyk. "He hit three iron shots within a foot of the hole where he had tap-ins for birdie, and he played incredible. He played a great round of golf."

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