Dufner wins Byron Nelson with late birdie


Posted at May 21 2012 03:18 PM | Updated as of May 21 2012 11:21 PM

American Jason Dufner holed a 25-foot birdie putt at the last hole to win his second PGA Tour title in three weeks with a dramatic one-shot victory at the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas on Sunday.

Dufner, who made his breakthrough on the circuit at last month's New Orleans Classic, pumped his right fist in celebration as his ball dropped into the cup for a three-under-par 67.

That gave him an 11-under total of 269 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, one better than compatriot Dicky Pride, who had drained a 22-foot par putt on the 18th green moments earlier for a matching 67.

JJ Henry, who had led by one shot with two holes to play, had to settle for a share of third at nine under after closing with a 68. Henry finished level with fellow American Joe Durant (65), Australian Marc Leishman (66) and Swede Jonas Blixt (66).

Five players held at least a share of the lead in an action-packed final round but the ice-cool Dufner broke clear of the pack with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 16th followed by his long-range effort at the last.

"A lot of things were going on with the leaderboard, it kind of got jumbled up a little bit and bunched up at the top," a beaming Dufner said greenside.

"Luckily I had a nice chance there on 18 to close it out. It was a little bit right-to-left putt, downhill. I just had a really good feel for that putt."

Dufner, who had led by one stroke overnight before being caught by his challengers early in the final round, was delighted to avoid going into a playoff.

"I've been in a couple of playoffs now and I kind of wanted to close this one out," he smiled.

Playoff experience

Dufner lost to fellow American Keegan Bradley in a playoff for last year's PGA Championship but then claimed his maiden PGA Tour title by beating South African Ernie Els on the second extra hole in New Orleans.

It has certainly been a momentous three-week run for Dufner, who married his girlfriend Amanda on the Saturday after his triumph at the New Orleans Classic.

"It's been a great month for both us," he said. "Two wins in a month and to get married on top of it all. You couldn't really ask for much more, personally or professionally."

While Dufner had lots to smile about on Sunday, Henry was left with a bitter-sweet taste in his mouth.

In pursuit of his second PGA Tour victory, Henry aced the par-three fifth with a pitching wedge before later getting up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the 16th and grab a one-shot lead.

Moments later, though, he was a stroke off the pace after running up an ugly double-bogey at the tricky par-three 17th.

After overhitting the green with his tee shot, Henry chipped back to 30 feet from the pin and then three-putted to slip back to nine under and he did well to par the last and remain in a tie for third place.

World number 10 Phil Mickelson made a late charge with four consecutive birdies from the fifth but he finished bogey-bogey for a 66 in a tie for seventh with fellow American Ken Duke (66) at six under. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Julian Linden)