Jason Dufner had a five-shot lead making him a top contender in the PGA Championship until he let that lead slip on Sunday, leaving him a runner-up slot in the Championship, but he refuses to be too down on himself.
The 34-year old Dufner’s dream of getting his first ever victory on the PGA Tour circuit was bolstered by his five-stroke lead at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia with only four holes to play. However, he allowed a forced playoff with compatriot Keagan Bradley when he shot three bogeys from holes 15 to 17 which the latter won.
“(I’m) just a little disappointed right now,” Dufner said.”Especially 16 and 17. Those are the ones that kind of stick out to me. They’re tough holes. Everybody has struggled on them. Unfortunately I had the lead and I struggled on them. It’s a little bit disappointing.
“Unfortunately, that was the deciding factor. Keegan made a couple of birdies, and I made a couple of bogeys.”
Despite his heartbreaking defeat, Dufner remains positive and hopeful about continuing his form in the coming weeks, even as he paid credit to Bradley.
“Hats off to Keegan coming in there in the last three holes, I think, in regulation. (He) played great playoff holes,” Dufner said.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t close it out. But, on the other hand, I’m excited because I had a great finish in a major. It’s going to open a lot of opportunities for me next year. It proves that I’m playing pretty well going into these playoffs that they have got coming up here in two weeks.
“You know, maybe looking back 10, 15 years from now, I’ll feel disappointment that I let this one get away if I never get another chance. But, I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to have some chances to win some majors and some other golf tournaments to close one out.”
He said just playing in the major and competing for the title is already a “dream”.
“To be in this position, it’s a dream come true. I could never have imagined playing in major championships, playing with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods; that’s a milestone to me itself. I’m not going to let this define my career,” he said.
“I have a lot of things ahead of me, I’m young, not as young as Keegan is, but I have a lot of time to play golf and hopefully I’ll have more time to win majors and use what happened today as a positive.”