Dufner eyes further PGA Tour glory at Colonial

Jason Dufner has surprised many people with his astonishing form over the last month but he himself never doubted that he was good enough to flourish on the PGA Tour.

The laid-back American with the distinctive pre-shot waggle will be seeking a third victory on the U.S. circuit in just four starts when he tees off in Thursday's opening round of the Colonial Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

While the odds are stacked against him on the world's most competitive tour as he aims for back-to-back titles following his triumph at the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday, the 35-year-old is simply hoping to continue swinging freely.

"It's pretty difficult," Dufner said of the task facing any player bidding to win consecutive tournaments on the PGA Tour. "It's difficult to win one week in a row out here," he smiled.

"There are a lot of great players in the field this week, and we are on a really tough golf course. You got to do a lot of good things with your game, shoot some low scores.

"I haven't touched a club since Sunday so hopefully the golf swing is still intact, the same as it was last week. For me the best part will be on Thursday when I step up to the tee and can actually start to play some golf and see where my game is at."

Dufner needed 164 starts on the PGA Tour before clinching his maiden victory in a playoff with South African veteran Ernie Els at the New Orleans Classic four weeks ago.

Just two tournaments later, he again ended up in the winner's circle, calmly sinking a 25-foot birdie putt at the final hole to triumph by one shot at the Byron Nelson Championship.


Asked whether he was surprised to have tasted double success on the U.S. circuit after such a long wait for his breakthrough, Dufner replied: "Not really.

"I felt like I was a pretty good player out here, that I could win some golf tournaments. Obviously I worked pretty hard, I feel like to, get better at the game, to try and experience as many things about golf ... to get better at golf.

"It surprised me a little bit that I've won two in three weeks to be honest with you, but I'm not surprised that I could play at this level."

Dufner faces strong opposition at Colonial Country Club where fellow American Matt Kuchar, the world number five, and compatriot Hunter Mahan, ranked sixth, head the field.

Also taking part are emerging American talent Rickie Fowler and Swede Carl Pettersson, who lie seventh and eighth respectively on the 2012 PGA Tour money list.

Veteran American David Toms is back to defend the title he won last year by one shot over South Korean Charlie Wi.

"It's a special week for me," 13-time PGA Tour champion Toms told reporters on Wednesday before setting off in the pre-tournament pro-am competition.

"It's always been a tournament that I loved to play, and over the years, I had a lot of good finishes. But to finally get a victory, it was just awesome really."

This season, Toms has recorded only two top-10s in 11 starts on the PGA Tour but he has great expectations for this week following his tie for 10th at the Players Championship in his most recent appearance.

"That's the way golf is, it kind of goes in cycles," he said. "I'm hoping to build upon what I've done the last couple of tournaments and get myself into (winning) position."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)