May 21, 2012 in Sports

Long putt lifts Dufner

25-foot birdie on No. 18 earns one-stroke Byron Nelson win
Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Jason Dufner celebrates the birdie putt that gave him his second victory in four weeks.
(Full-size photo)

Jason Dufner made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas, his second victory in four weeks.

The winning putt wrapped up a closing 3-under 67 for an 11-under 269 total. Dicky Pride was second.

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.

Moments later, Dufner made a putt that was only a few feet longer but on virtually the same line as the one Pride made to finish his round of 67.

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.

But Henry, in the final group with Dufner, hit his tee shot at the par-3 17th over the green. The former TCU star lost the lead with a double bogey after a 4-foot putt slid just outside the cup.

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.

Joe Durant, 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).

LPGA

Azahara Munoz beat Candie Kung 2 and 1 to win the Sybase Match Play Championship, a title that was set up when Morgan Pressel was penalized for slow play while in control of their semifinal match.

It was the first LPGA Tour win for Munoz, but this was shrouded in controversy. It also will put more focus on pace of play in golf.

Pressel appeared to take a 3-up lead with a par at the 12th hole at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J. But before she could tee off on No. 13, tour official Doug Brecht informed her that she had violated the tour’s pace of play rule and lost the hole, dropping her lead to 1-up and changing momentum.

Munoz, a former Arizona State star from Spain, then rallied to beat Pressel 2 and 1.

Pressel beat Vicky Hurst 2 and 1 in the third-place match. Kung beat Hurst 2 and 1 in the semifinals.

World Match Play

Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts won the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Casares, Spain, beating Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell 1-up in windy conditions.

Colsaerts, a two-time winner on the European Tour, beat Scotland’s Paul Lawrie in 20 holes in the morning semifinals. McDowell edged Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello 2-up in the other semifinal.

The victory lifted Colsaerts into 10th place in the Ryder Cup points table – the last automatic spot for the European team – but perhaps more importantly demonstrated to team captain Jose Maria Olazabal his prowess at match play ahead of the September matches against the United States in Medinah near Chicago.

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