6. Jason Dufner, 2013, -2.50
The disappointed playoff loser to Bradley two years earlier in Atlanta, Dufner came to Oak Hill still seeking his breakthrough major title.
A first round 68 looked good except by comparison with the day’s other scores. Jim Furyk and Adam Scott both shot 65 and Dufner found himself outside the top 10. But he bounced back Friday with a seven-under course record 63, opening up a two-stroke advantage over the first round co-leaders as well as Matt Kuchar.
The weekend was essentially a match play event between Dufner and Furyk with occasional forays toward the top by Henrik Stenson. Furyk shot 68 Saturday to lead Dufner by a stroke with Stenson one more stroke behind.
Birdies on the fourth and fifth holes Sunday thrust Dufner into the lead, but Furyk drew even with a birdie of his own at No. 6. Dufner regained the lead with a birdie at the par 4 8th, and saw that advantage swell to two strokes when Furyk took a crippling bogey at the 9th.
It was all the advantage Dufner needed. Matching Furyk stroke for stroke along the back nine, he never allowed his challenger to draw closer. At the 16th, Dufner spun a wedge within 18 inches for a sure birdie that negated Furyk’s own 12-foot birdie putt. Dufner bogeyed both 17 and 18, but Furyk could do no better.