Published January 13, 2015
Jason Dufner has been a household name for a few years. He is now becoming a name not to overlook in the majors.
Dufner is playing the weekend after making the cut in his ninth straight major. He did so in impressive fashion on Friday.
The 2011 PGA Championship runner-up matched the major championship scoring record by one with his 7-under 63 in Friday's second round. That helped Dufner complete 36 holes at 9-under-par 131, which was a good for a 2-stroke lead heading into the weekend.
Dufner lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff in 2011. In the seven majors since, Dufner has finished outside the top 30 just once.
Masters winner and first-round co-leader Adam Scott managed a 2-under 68 on Friday. He dipped into a share of second at minus-7. Scott was joined there by Matt Kuchar (66) and Jim Furyk (68), who shared the first-round lead with Scott.
U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who went 6-under par on the front nine on Friday, carded a 66 to end alongside Henrik Stenson (66). They ended two rounds in a share of fifth at 6-under-par 134. Robert Garrigus (68) and Steve Stricker (67) are tied for seventh at minus-5.
Webb Simpson matched the old course record of 64 to jump to 4-under-par 136. Simpson's 64 tied the record that Ben Hogan set and Curtis Strange later tied. That trio had the course record until Dufner caught fire on Friday afternoon.
Simpson shares ninth place with 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer (68), Charley Hoffman (67) and Marcus Fraser (69).
Defending champion Rory McIlroy managed a 1-over 71 on Friday. He ended two rounds at even-par 140.
Four-time champion Tiger Woods traded two birdies for two bogeys over the final four holes en route to a second-round 70. He ended two rounds at 1-over 141 as did 2011 PGA winner Keegan Bradley, who stumbled to a 2-over 72 in round two.
"Just the finish I had obviously, and driving the green at 14 and 3-putting there. And then 3-putting at 16, I missed a few today," Woods said of his disappointing finish. "I didn't hit it anywhere near as good as today. Consequently, I didn't have that many looks. When I did, I missed my share, too."
British Open champ Phil Mickelson is one shot behind that duo after his second straight 71.
The cut line fell at 3-over-par 143. Among those that won't be around for the weekend are Nicolas Colsaerts, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Davis Love III, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Y.E. Yang, Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington, Geoff Ogilvy and Shaun Micheel, who won the PGA in 2003 here at Oak Hill.
Dufner's magical round got off to a flying start as he holed out for eagle from the fairway on No. 2. At the fourth, he poured in a 35-footer for birdie and made it two in a row as he drained an 18-foot birdie chance on the fifth.
The 2011 PGA runner-up ran off five pars in a row from the sixth to make the turn one off the lead. Dufner erased that deficit with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 11th.
Dufner knocked his third at the par-5 13th to seven feet and he made that to go one clear. He birdied the 16th from five feet out to go two clear. Dufner had a chance to set the major championship scoring record with a birdie in his final two holes.
At 17, Dufner's 22-footer missed left. His approach at the last stopped 12 feet short of the hole. Dufner's birdie try for 62 and the scoring record came up short.
"It was a great day for me, a good day to get out there and score. Obviously the rain, the soft golf course made it scorable. But to join history, to shoot a 63 in a major, pretty unbelievable, and to be leading the tournament, even better. So hopefully it will propel me to a great weekend," Dufner said.
"I know most of the history of major championships, so I knew that nobody had shot 62, and the course record I had heard on TV earlier in the week. So I knew where I stood, and you couldn't have a better putt for a chance at history on the last hole, but I just didn't quite hit it hard enough."
Furyk, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, had the best chance to catch Dufner late on Friday, but his steady round was only good enough to get him into a share of second place.
The 43-year-old Furyk birdied the first, then cruised to eight pars in a row from the second. He moved to 7-under with a birdie on the 10th. Furyk got within one of Dufner as he birdied the 16th, but Furyk gave that right back as he bogeyed the 17th. A par at the last left Furyk two behind.
Kuchar, who was in the group behind Dufner, had birdies at the first and sixth en route to making the turn at minus-5. On the back nine, Kuchar made a move to within one of the lead with birdies at 12, 14 and 16. At the last, Kuchar stumbled to a bogey to fall two back.
"We're sitting on 18 tee and watched Jason hit his approach shot from the fairway, knew he hit it close by the crowd's reaction. As we walked down to the fairway, we get a chance to watch his putt, all kind of hoping," Kuchar said of watching Dufner's round.
"And I know for me, it would have put him an extra shot ahead, but it would have been pretty cool to see a 62 posted as the lowest round ever in a major championship. It was kind of too bad that he missed it ... I was just hoping to salvage par. Hit a bad drive in the right bunker and had to just layout."
Scott started on No. 10 and birdied his opening hole. He later tallied birdies at 13 and 16 to move to 8-under for the championship. Scott stumbled to a bogey on the 17th.
Around the turn, the Australian birdied the second, but gave that stroke right back with a bogey on the par-3 third. Scott birdied the next par-3, the sixth, but missed the green at seven and failed to get up and down for his par. He parred the last two holes to end at minus-7.
"I'm pleased with the round. It was difficult this morning. The course was playing really long with the heavy atmosphere and the rain, so I got off to a good start, which was important after yesterday's 65, and kept myself moving in the right direction," Scott said. "But when it eased up, it became really scorable out there, and I didn't quite take advantage of that, as I missed a few putts. But hopefully saved them for the weekend."
Scott was in the group of players that played late Thursday and early Friday, and that wave clearly had the more difficult conditions both days. On Thursday, they came of the course for 70 minutes due to lightening in the area. On Friday, a soaking rain fell most of their round.
Woody Austin missed the cut at plus-4 after carding a 75 in round two. That 75 included four penalty strokes. Austin discovered on the third hole that he had too many clubs in his bag, and he was assessed a 2-shot penalty for the first and second holes for completing those holes with an extra club in his bag.
NOTES: Twenty-seven players ended in red figures after two rounds versus three that did so at the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill ... Seventy-five players made the cut at plus-3 ... All 20 club professionals missed the cut with David Muttitt, who finished at 5-over par coming closest to making it to the weekend.