PGA: Dufner defeats Els in a playoff
BY Associated Press
Monday, April 30, 2012
4/30/12 at 5:10 AM
Jason Dufner beat Ernie Els with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff Sunday in the Zurich Classic to win for the first time in 164 starts on the PGA Tour.
After entering the fourth round with a two-shot lead, Dufner shot a 2-under 70 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. Els had a 67 to match Dufner at 19-under 269.
After both players missed birdie putts within 8 feet on the par-5 18th, they went back to the 18th tee for the second extra hole, which Dufner won by hitting the green in two strokes and tapping home a short birdie putt after Els' birdie attempt from the fringe narrowly missed.
Dufner lost playoffs last year to Mark Wilson in the Phoenix Open and Keegan Bradley in the PGA Championship for two of his three career runner-up finishes.
The 6-foot-3 Els hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, a little more than two years ago.
He did not have a single bogey in the final round or playoff, and would have won his 19th career PGA Tour event if he could have made a birdie putt of a little less than 6 feet on the first playoff hole. He pushed it more than 2 feet past the edge of the hole.
On the second playoff hole, Els' tee shot went into a fairway bunker, and his second shot landed 137 yards from the pin. His third shot landed on the fringe, nearly 19 feet from the pin, but he nearly saved birdie from there, his putt missing by 2 inches.
Dufner then made his birdie putt from less than 2 feet, and in his typically low-key way, briefly raised both arms to acknowledge the cheering crowd before casually walking off the green to accept some congratulatory hugs.
Luke Donald shot a 67 to finish third at 17 under, and move past Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 ranking in the world.
Defending Zurich Classic champ Bubba Watson, playing for the first time since a life-changing win at the Masters over Easter weekend, entered the final round eight shots off the lead. He was unable to mount a charge after bogeys on his first two holes. He wound up tied for 18th at 11 under, one of his worst finishes of the year.
Lewis wins LPGA Classic: Stacy Lewis won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour title, holding off hard-charging teen Lexi Thompson by a stroke in Mobile, Ala.
Lewis, who held a five-stroke lead early in the day, reclaimed the edge with a birdie on No. 16, while the 17-year-old Thompson parred the final hole and had to wait.
Lewis parred out. Her week was so solid that her finishing 3-under 69 was her worst round en route to a 17-under 271 total. The former Arkansas star also won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"I feel like I've been close ever since then. ... just kind of knocking on the door," said Lewis, who won $187,500. "It's nice to get it out of the way.
"I fought. I'm exhausted. I'm glad I didn't have to play more holes."
Karine Icher of France closed with a 68 to finish third, two strokes back.
Original Print Headline: Dufner wins in a playoff
Jason Dufner kisses the trophy after defeating Ernie Els in a sudden-death playoff to win the Zurich Classic on Sunday at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. GERALD HERBERT / Associated Press