Sunday Notebook: Low scores galore mark PGA
By T.J. Auclair, Stan Awtrey and The PGA of America
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – In three U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships played at Oak Hill previously, only 13 players completed 72 holes with a score under par.
In the 95th PGA Championship, 21 players finished 72 holes under par. Jason Dufner’s winning total of 10-under 270 was four shots better than the previous best 72-hole total of 6 under – Jack Nicklaus’s winning score in the 1980 PGA Championship.
DUFNER’S MAJOR MOMENT: On the final day of major championship golf in 2013, Jason Dufner earned his first major title with a two-stroke victory over Jim Furyk. Dufner, runner-up in the 2011 PGA Championship, shot 2-under-par 68 to finish the Season’s Final Major at 10-under-par 270, the lowest winning score of any major championship conducted on Oak Hill’s East Course.
The key to Dufner’s victory can be found in the Greens in Regulation category, where he hit one outstanding approach shot after another throughout the Championship. Dufner hit 54 of 72 Greens in Regulation, a 75 percent success rate that ranked third overall for the week. Trailing Furyk by one stroke entering the final round, the unflappable Dufner hit 11 of 18 Greens in Regulation, helping him to make three birdies on the front nine (Nos. 4, 5 and 8). He had only 11 putts over the first nine holes and finished the Championship tied for 14th in Total Putts.
Before he raised the Wanamaker Trophy in victory, Dufner was embraced by his friend, Keegan Bradley, who defeated Dufner in that 2011 PGA Championship playoff.
26 STRAIGHT WITHOUT A BOGEY: Dufner, who earlier in the Championship went 31 consecutive holes without a bogey or worse, played 26 straight holes without a bogey or worse over his last two rounds. His three-putt for bogey at No. 17 today ended that string.
SIXTH TO SHOOT 63 AND WIN A MAJOR: Dufner is now the sixth golfer to shoot 63 in a major – he did so in the second round here – and go on to win that Championship. The others:
• Johnny Miller, 1973 U.S. Open
• Jack Nicklaus, 1980 U.S. Open
• Raymond Floyd, 1982 PGA Championship
• Greg Norman, 1986 Open Championship
• Tiger Woods, 2007 PGA Championship
TO THE CHAMPION GOES THE SPOILS: As the 95th PGA Champion, Dufner has earned:
• A lifetime exemption into the PGA Championship
• A five-year exemption into the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship
• The Wanamaker Trophy
• A berth in the 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf
• A place in the history books
LOWEST WINNING PGA CHAMPIONSHIP TOTAL AT OAK HILL: Dufner’s winning total, 10-under-par 270, is the lowest of the three PGA Championships played at Oak Hill Country Club.
The other Champions and their winning scores:
• Jack Nicklaus, 6-under-par 274, in 1980
• Shaun Micheel, 4-under-par 276, in 2003
JUST THE STATS, PLEASE:
The statistics for Jason Dufner in key categories:
Greens in Regulation: 54 of 72, 75 percent, ranked third
Fairways Hit: 34 of 56, 60.71 percent, tied for 18th
Total Putts: 114, tied for 14th
NOW 15 OF 18 FROM LAST GROUP: Dufner’s victory means that 15 of the last 18 PGA Champions have emerged from the final group in the final round. The exceptions: Padraig Harrington (2008); Martin Kaymer (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011).
15 OF LAST 19 ARE FIRST-TIMERS: Dufner’s win also means that 15 of the last 19 major championships have been won by a first-time major winner.
HEY, JASON, EVER BEEN TO BERMUDA?: Dufner is the fourth and final major champion of 2013 and earns a berth into the 31st PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the toughest event in golf to quality for. He is invited to participate, along with Masters Champion Adam Scott, U.S. Open Champion Justin Rose and Open Champion Phil Mickelson, Oct. 15-16, at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda.
AMERICAN DOUBLE, ONCE AGAIN: For the second consecutive year, golfers from the United States won back-to-back major championships. Dufner followed Phil Mickelson’s stirring victory last month at the Open Championship. Last year, Bubba Watson (Masters) and Webb Simpson (U.S. Open) won consecutive majors.
U.S. golfers won two majors both this year and in 2012.
TRIPLE BOGEY ENDS MCILROY’S HOPES: Defending champion Rory McIlroy made an early birdie, at No. 3, but any hopes he had for a successful defense evaporated at the par-4 fifth hole. McIlroy hit his approach shot into the creek fronting the green, pitched his fourth shot over the green, and ultimately made triple-bogey 7 on the hole.
McIlroy did rally with three birdies and finished with a 70 today for a 3-under-par 277 total. He tied for eighth place.
TOMS BEST AMONG PAST PGA CHAMPIONS: David Toms, the 2001 PGA Champion, closed with 3-under-par 67 to finish at 4 under par for the Championship. That is the best finishing score of the seven PGA Champions who made the 36-hole cut. Defending champion Rory McIlroy was next.
The finishing totals of the other five PGA Champions in the field who made the 36-hole cut:
Keegan Bradley, 1-under par for the Championship, T-19
Martin Kaymer, 3-over par for the Championship, T-33
Tiger Woods, 4-over par for the Championship, T-40
Vijay Singh, 10-over par for the Championship, T-70
Phil Mickelson, 12-over par for the Championship, T-72
TIM CLARK, WHAT AN ACE!: Tim Clark of South Africa became the 39th player to make a hole-in-one in the PGA Championship since complete records began to be kept in 1970. Clark used a 3-hybrid on the 220-yard, par-3 11th hole, to record the first ace in a PGA Championship since Tom Lehman on the 17th hole in the third round of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
It was Clark’s 14th career hole-in-one. In the 2003 PGA Championship, Robert Allenby made a hole-in-one on the 11th in the opening round.
Clark, who was third in the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill, tied for 68th, at 10 over par.
FIVE IN A ROW, TWICE!: Once was just not good enough for Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez. For the second time this week, Jimenez made five consecutive birdies – on holes 12 through 16. In the opening round, Jimenez birdied holes 2 through 6.
Jimenez shot 67 and finished at 2 over par for Championship.
BIGGEST JUMP SUNDAY: Jimenez and Matt Jones each leaped 23 spots to finish tied for 29th and tied for 40th, respectively.
LUCKY NUMBER 13 (TWICE) FOR KAYMER: Martin Kaymer eagled the par-5 13th hole twice this week – holing out from the fairway in the opening round and sinking a putt Sunday.
TOUGHEST, EASIEST HOLES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The par-4 17th was the most difficult hole on the course in the 95th PGA Championship. The par-5 fourth hole was the easiest for the week.
TOUGHEST HOLES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP:
No. 17, par-4: 4.415 scoring average, 176 bogeys, 17 double bogeys, 2 scores worse than double bogey, 25 birdies
No. 18, par-4: 4.346 scoring average, 150 bogeys, 20 double bogeys, 1 score worse than double bogey, 34 birdies
No. 7, par-4: 4.322 scoring average, 130 bogeys, 25 double bogeys, 1 score worse than double bogey, 35 birdies
EASIEST HOLES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP:
No. 4, par-5: 4.783 scoring average, 4 eagles, 145 birdies, 46 bogeys, 5 double bogeys, 1 score worse than double bogey
No. 13, par-5: 4.891 scoring average, 4 eagles, 115 birdies, 54 bogeys, 8 double bogeys, 1 score worse than double bogey
No. 14, par-4: 3.893 scoring average, 1 eagle, 130 birdies, 60 bogeys, 7 double bogeys, 3 scores worse than double bogey
HORAK’S UNFORGETTABLE WEEKEND AT OAK HILL: It was 36 holes of pure bliss for PGA Club Professional Rob Horak, who strolled the fairways of Oak Hill Country Club over the past two days as a “marker” for PGA Tour Professionals Matt Jones and Gary Woodland.
And the 18 holes Horak played with Woodland during Sunday’s final round was just as memorable as the round he walked with Jones on Saturday.
“I have been in this community for 30 years, and it was an honor to play in front of family and friends who I’ve developed relationships with through golf,” said Horak. “It was a special experience.”
Horak, a PGA teaching professional at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor, N.Y., served this week as the liaison for the Western New York PGA Section, which had more than 100 of its Professionals volunteering at Oak Hill. A five-time Section Champion, Horak was also asked by the Section to play as a “marker.”
Woodland closed with a 70, and in the process became the first player in competition to reach the green in two on the 598-yard par-5 hole. Woodland said he enjoyed his time with Horak.
“He was in a tough position today and he just wanted to make sure he wasn’t in the way,” said Woodland. “He played well today and we had a lot of fun.”
Horak, 52, had always dreamed of playing in a major championship and until Saturday never had the chance. This week, however, he feels he accomplished that lifelong goal.
“I have tried to qualify for the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship and as I have gotten older, I got a little down on myself,” he said. “To get this chance was truly a dream come true.”
FREE DROP FOR KUCHAR EXPLAINED: During the final round, Matt Kuchar received a free drop under the Local Rule for an embedded ball through the green.
On the second hole, Kuchar played from a fairway bunker. The ball came out low and embedded in the ground near the top edge of the bunker. At this point, Kuchar called for a rules official. After careful examination, John Paramor judged the ball to be embedded in the grass-covered ground, bordering the bunker.
By definition, this grass-covered ground is not part of the bunker and relief under the Local Rule was available.
BEST FOR LAST: It’s hard to believe, but this week marked just the third time that Keegan Bradley has competed in a PGA Championship.
As a rookie in 2011, Bradley shocked the golf world with a victory at Atlanta Athletic Club in a playoff over Jason Dufner. In his title defense a year ago at Kiawah Island, Bradley finished in a tie for third.
On Sunday at Oak Hill, Bradley catapulted 19 spots up the leaderboard with a final-round, 4-under 66. That allowed him to finish in a tie for 19th at 1 under.
Six under through 13 holes, Bradley really had something special going, but he made bogeys on Nos. 14 and 18 coming in.
“I wanted to beat's Duf's course record for sure,” said Bradley, alluding to good buddy Dufner’s course-record 63 earlier in the week. “On 14, I didn't hit that bad of a drive and it hit the tree and kicked it 60 yards right. Could have just as easily kicked it left and been right in front of the green. But that's how it goes. I'm proud of the way I played today. I've played the British Open and PGA good on the weekends two in a row, so I'm happy.”
A SPECIAL PAIRING: Unfortunately for Brooks Koepka, a 7-over 77 on Sunday turned out to be his worst score of the week at Oak Hill. The round, however, is one the 23-year-old will likely never forget.
Why, you ask?
Koepka was paired with Tiger Woods.
"It was fun," said Koepka, a Florida native, multiple winner on the European Challenge Tour and new member of the European Tour. "I had a good time. Tiger is a good dude. Obviously I didn't play the way I wanted to, got off to a little bit of a shaky start. A little bit of adrenaline going. The ball wasn't finding the distance as I thought it was, and I don't know what to say. I hung in there on the back and that was kind of the main goal on making the turn just to have a good back nine."
Woods enjoyed Koepka's company, too.
"Good kid," Woods said. "I mean, we were talking about it – he lives right down the road from where I live and he's thinking about becoming a member at Medalist. Come out there and play a few rounds. He earned his way. He won three times (on the Challenge Tour) and now he's on the European Tour. It's good to see. Good, old fashioned work pays off and he should be proud of it."
95th PGA CHAMPIONSHIP … BY THE NUMBERS
8: Birdies made today by Scott Piercy, the most by any player in a single round this week
11: Eagles made in the 95th PGA Championship
21: Players finishing under par in the 95th PGA Championship
65: Low score of the final round, by Scott Piercy