Jason Dufner storms to victory on weather-hit final day at Memorial
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/06/17 7:43am
Jason Dufner produced a remarkable comeback from his third-round horror show as he claimed a three-shot victory on a weather-ravaged final day at The Memorial.
Dufner had set the 36-hole scoring record in the tournament after opening with a pair of 65s, but he lost his composure on Saturday and slumped to a 77 which left him four shots behind leader Daniel Summerhays.
But Summerhays played himself out of contention and Rickie Fowler faltered down the stretch, while Dufner carded four birdies after the turn and sealed his first victory since January last year with a superb putt for par from outside 30 feet at the last.
Dufner followed three birdies with as many bogeys in an inconsistent outward 36, but he rediscovered his form of the first two days on the back nine and remained unruffled by two lengthy delays due to storms in the Muirfield Village area.
The 40-year-old set up a birdie at 10 with a precise approach in close, and he holed from 10 feet at the 12th before finding the green in two at the long 15th and safely two-putting for his sixth birdie of the round.
A sublime wedge to inside three feet at the 17th took him to 13 under, although he blocked his drive into thick rough at the last just as the klaxons sounded for the second time to force the players back to the clubhouse.
On the resumption, Dufner failed to gouge his ball back to the fairway and managed to find the green with his third, and after playing partner Fowler had failed to apply the pressure when he pulled his short-iron second left of the green, Dufner calmly rolled in the par putt and earned the champions handshake from tournament host Jack Nicklaus.
Fowler then duffed his chip and carded his second bogey over the last five holes to return a disappointing 70 that threatened to be so much better having played a flawless first 12 holes in four under par.
The American's late lapse saw him slip into a share of second with India's Anirban Lahiri, who charged 25 places up the leaderboard with a sparkling seven-birdie 65, comfortably the low round of the day.
Justin Thomas looked out of sorts after opening with a bogey and laboured to a 72 to finish on nine under alongside Muirfield Village specialist Matt Kuchar, who was also out of sorts as he stumbled to a one-over 73.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson raced into a tie for the lead when he birdied three of the first six holes, but he bogeyed seven and eight and blotted his card three more times on the back nine to close on eight under.
The final day proved to be a torrid one for Summerhays, whose overnight three-shot lead vanished when he scrapped his way to a double-bogey six at the third and then bogeyed the next.
Summerhays fought back with birdies at two of the next three holes, but he faded after the turn and dropped shots at 10 and 11 effectively ended his challenge as he signed off with a 77, finishing six shots adrift of Dufner.