Golf

Dufner seizes lead in Tampa

2012-03-17 05:48
Jason Dufner (Gallo)

Florida - Jason Dufner seized a two-shot lead at the US PGA Tour's Transitions Championship Friday as overnight leader Padraig Harrington failed to find the dazzling form he displayed just a day before.

Harrington, who opened the tournament with a course-record 61 on Thursday, settled for a two-over par 73 on Friday to fall two shots behind Dufner, who carded a second successive 66 and has yet to make a bogey on the par-71 Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.

"Pretty stress-free round," said Dufner, who has yet to win a US PGA Tour title in 159 starts.

Harrington, whose 22 putts on Thursday included a 75-footer, couldn't get the putts to drop on Friday.

The three-time major champion missed four putts from within 10 feet, taking 33 putts overall.

Harrington said he still hit the ball well, but perhaps played too defensively.

"I'm happy with my game, but when you shoot a good score, it's hard to match the next day," Harrington said. "When you're leading the tournament, it's hard not to be a little bit cautious, and I think at times I was on the greens."

Dufner had a 10-under total of 132. Harrington was on eight-under 134, where he was joined by William McGirt, who carded a 68.

England's Luke Donald, who could regain the world number one ranking with a victory this week, posted a 68 to lead a group of five players on 135.

He was joined by South Korea's Sang-Moon Bae (66), Ken Duke (67), Chris Couch (68) and George McNeill (68).

It was a further shot back to Australian John Senden, Spain's Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry were on 136. In all, four shots separated a dozen players.

Harrington, who teed off on 10, held onto the lead for much of the day.

However, at the par-four sixth he marked a 15-inch putt for par, but was a bit too casual about the tap-in and missed it.

He had a three-putt bogey at seven and was suddenly two shots adrift.

"I didn't do too much damage today," Harrington said. "It wouldn't have been the end of the world if I didn't have those two three-putts. It could be OK.

"But the great thing his, having shot a good score yesterday, I felt that if I played the best golf on the weekend, I would be the winner. I'm still in good position."

Dufner birdied three of the course's four par-fives. At the par-four third he rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt and drained a 25-footer for birdie on the par-four ninth.

Ranked 39 in the world, Dufner is the only player in the top 50 who hasn't won on any major tour.

"It's a good thing that I've played that well to be ranked that high without a victory, because the victories really jump you up in the world rankings," he said. "It's a little disappointing that I have not won yet, but there's a lot of events this year and next year and the year after."

Leading second-round scores on Friday in the US PGA Tour's $5.5 million Transitions Championship (USA unless noted, par-71):

132 - Jason Dufner 66-66

134 - Padraig Harrington (IRL) 61-73, William McGirt 66-68

135 - Chris Couch 67-68, George McNeill 67-68, Luke Donald (ENG) 67-68, Sang-Moon Bae (KOR) 69-66, Ken Duke 68-67

136 - Jim Furyk 66-70, John Senden (AUS) 66-70, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 68-68, Kenny Perry 66-70

137 - Chris DiMarco 70-67, Jason Bohn 66-71, Webb Simpson 68-69, Justin Rose (ENG) 67-70, Jamie Lovemark 70-67, Jeff Overton 68-69, Cameron Tringale 66-71, Kevin Streelman 68-69, Ernie Els (RSA) 70-67, Retief Goosen (RSA) 69-68, Jerry Kelly 69-68, Scott Piercy 69-68

138 - Kevin Chappell 69-69, Bryce Molder 67-71, John Mallinger 72-66, Bo Van Pelt 70-68, Andres Romero (ARG) 70-68, Chez Reavie 68-70, Michael Thompson 68-70, Kyle Reifers 70-68, Will Claxton 64-74

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