Dufner denies Els in playoff to win first PGA title

30 Apr 2012 00:16:54

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Jason Dufner two-putted from 60 feet for a birdie on the second playoff hole to defeat Ernie Els on Sunday and win his first PGA title in 163 attempts by capturing the Zurich Classic.

There was heartache for South African icon Els, a three-time major champion whose win drought of more than two years continues.

But there was elation for the usually stoic American at taking home the $1.15 million top prize from the $6.4 million event and snapping a career win drought that including squandering a late lead at the 2011 PGA Championship.

"It was a tough day. Ernie put up a good number," Dufner said. "It has been tough getting that first win out here. Six years now. It feels good getting the monkey off my back."

Els and Dufner each finished 72 holes deadlocked atop the leaderboard at 19-under par 269. Els fired a final-round 67 while Dufner, who led by two when the day began, shot a 70.

Both men parred the 18th to close the final round, Dufner missing a 10-footer for victory in regulation. They played the 18th again to start the playoff and Els missed an eight-footer that would have given him the victory.

When they played 18 again for the second hole of sudden death, Els found a bunker off the tee and left himself 18 feet for birdie only to watch Dufner roll his 60-foot eagle bid just two feet past the cup.

Els missed to the right and tapped in for par, then Dufner tapped in for a birdie and his long-sought victory, which comes only six days before he is to be married in Auburn, Alabama.

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