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Dufner wins Nelson with 18th-hole birdie
IRVING, TEXAS (AP) — Jason Dufner made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the Byron Nelson Championship, his second victory in four weeks.
The winning putt wrapped up a closing 3-under 67 for an 11-under 269 total, one ahead of Dicky Pride.
Dufner got his first PGA Tour victory at New Orleans on April 29, then took a week off to get married. He also led alone by one stroke after the second and third rounds at the TPC at Four Seasons course.
Pride, whose only PGA Tour victory in a 20-year professional career came in 1994, was at 10 under with a par-saving 22-foot putt at No. 18 after hitting his drive into the water.
J.J. Henry, who had an early hole-in-one, was in the lead at 11 under after consecutive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, overcoming a bad tee shot on the first and a greenside bunker on the second.
After watching Henry’s meltdown, Dufner made a tap-in par at No. 17 and then hit a big drive on No. 18 in the middle of the fairway. He hit his approach to the middle of the green, avoiding a playoff with the long putt and joining Hunter Mahan as the only two-time winners this season.
Pride had made a 13-foot birdie putt at No. 17.
Joe Durant, who was the final alternate added to the Nelson field, shot a 65 to finish in a tie for third at 271 with Henry (68), Marc Leishman (66) and rookie Jonas Blixt (66).
Phil Mickelson, making his first Nelson start in five years, had four consecutive birdies on the front nine and went on to a round of 66 to finish four strokes back. He tied for seventh with Ken Duke, who also had a string of four birdies in a row in his own 66.
While Henry and Dufner were playing the 17th hole, Pride drove his tee shot at No. 18 left into the water. After his drop, Pride hit his approach to 22 feet and made that par-saving putt to remain at 10 under, letting out a scream when the ball dropped into the hole.
Pride, who went to the University of Alabama, then watched the final group play the 18th hole and waiting to see if he would be in a playoff. Even he had to applaud on the clinching putt by Dufner, who went to rival Auburn.
Matt Kuchar, the fifth-ranked player who won The Players Championship a week earlier, had 70 and finished at 276 in a tie for 15th. He was trying to become the first PGA Tour player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks.
By Tammy Bruce
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