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A 6-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole put him at 7 under for the round, and his 15-foot birdie putt on the next hole grazed the cup. He followed with two flawless swings on the tough 18th hole, which had yielded only four birdies at that point. That left him about 12 feet below the hole.
And he left it short by about 18 inches. There even was a nervous moment on the tap-in, when the ball came off the putter weakly and dove in the right corner of the cup.
O Third round
9 a.m., TNT and
noon, Ch. 2
"It’s tough when you’re chasing history," Dufner said. "You will be the first one to do something. I don’t think I’ve been the first to do anything in my life. So it was a little nerve-racking for a Friday. It’s usually the pressure you might feel toward the end of the tournament."
That part is still to come.
Low scores were available to anyone. Even after Dufner finished his round, K.J. Choi had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to reach 7 under. It narrowly missed, and Choi made bogey on the next hole to end that threat.
Scott is swinging the club beautifully, and his only flaw Friday was not holing enough birdie chances when the rain stopped. Even so, he was in the hunt on the weekend for the fourth time in the last six majors. He will be in the final group with Dufner on Saturday.
Henrik Stenson, a runner-up at Muirfield, had a 66 and joined Rose at 6-under 134, only three shots behind. Stricker and Robert Garrigus were another shot behind.
Dufner is a student of golf history and was thrilled to part of it. But while that 63 put him in the record book, it doesn’t guarantee the trophy. Of the 25 previous times that someone shot 63 in a major, only five players went on to win — Nicklaus and Johnny Miller in the U.S. Open, Norman in the British Open and Woods in the PGA Championship.
Now that’s some elite company.
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