How do you know how amazing your tournament-winning putt is? When you see the look on Jack Nicklaus’ face on the replay. The open mouth, the lean forward, and the expression of joy.
That’s what Jason Dufner saw as he drained a 40-foot putt for par on No. 18 at The Memorial on Sunday to clinch an unlikely comeback win.
After bombing out with a 77 on Saturday to fall four strokes behind the leaders, Dufner rallied with a 68 to win the tournament by three strokes over Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri.
Dufner had to scrap his way through the front nine, countering three bogeys with three birdies to hit the turn at par. He was dominant the rest of the way, shooting the back nine at 4-under to rise up the leaderboard and take the win.
At the turn, he had actually gained a stroke on Day 3 leader Daniel Summerhays as the latter had stumbled out of the gate with a double-bogey 6 on No. 3 and a bogey on No. 4 before rallying to two birdies.
Through nine holes, Summerhays was 12-under, Rickie Fowler had shot a 33 to get to 11-under, Justin Thomas was also at 11-under after shooting a front-nine 35, Matt Kuchar was at 11-under with his 35, while Dufner was three strokes back tied with Bubba Watson at 9-under.
The landscape shifted dramatically on the back nine. Summerhays bogeyed the first two holes of the back nine to drop to 1o-under, tied with Kuchar, who bogeyed No. 10. Thomas remained at 11-under while hitting pars from 10 to 15, while Fowler took over the lead at 12-under with a birdie on 11. Dufner birdied 10 and 12 to get to 11-under, one stroke behind Fowler.
Fowler bogeyed No. 14 while Dufner birdied 15 as they flip-flopped spots, with Dufner now 12-under and Fowler at 11-under, tied with Thomas and Kuchar, while Summerhays remained at 10-under.
Dufner got to 13-under with a birdie on 17 to seal the victory. Summerhays lost three strokes in the final three holes with a bogey on 16 and a double-bogey 6 on 18.