Great battle awaits at Byron Nelson
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship | Round Three | 20 May 2012
Jason Dufner has retained his 36 hole lead and takes a one shot lead over Jason Day, J.J. Henry and Dicky Pride into the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving in Texas.
On a blustery day, Dufner recovered from an early bogey and produced his now customary rock solid display, especially from tee to green, with two birdies and hardly a mistake in the balance of his round.
It was not a great day on the greens for the 35 year old but he did enough to stay ahead. With 15 players within four shots of the lead, however, tomorrow threatens to be a real dogfight for the title.
Three weeks ago Dufner broke through for his first PGA Tour title, a week later he was married and tomorrow he chases the opportunity to win again. To say the least he is in a purple patch in his life.
“I feel pretty good with it,” said Dufner referring to his 54 hole lead. "It’s been pretty tight. Last time in New Orleans was back and forth with Ernie; this week it’s going to be the same thing. There are a lot of guys around the lead.
“I feel good with where my game is at, what I’m doing out there, getting more comfortable playing in final groups and getting more comfortable trying to win these tournaments. I think the more you do it the more comfortable you’re going to be, and the more successful you are, it’s going to carry over.”
“There will be a lot of experiences I can draw from, New Orleans. I’ve been out here, won an event now recently, so that says that my game is in good form and mentally I was able to grind through it there in New Orleans. It was a tough thing for me to get over that hurdle.
“Hopefully tomorrow I will have those thoughts in the back of my mind and encourage myself to think about those things and try and close this out. Definitely can’t hurt.”
Life is good for Dufner but so too is it for joint runner-up Jason Day. Now fully fit after injury issues earlier this year, Day is building momentum towards the big events over the next two months. But off course also Day has a big event ahead.
Day and wife Ellie are expecting their first child in July and you get the feeling that the Ohio based Queenslander is in a great place in his life right now. That great life balance he is now enjoying could play a key role in what threatens to be a tight battle over the final nine holes tomorrow.
Day threatened to take the outright lead himself when he hit a superb approach to the last but a three putt from eight feet behind the hole, the second from less than two feet, saw him slip one of the pace. Day appears as a great chance to continue his brilliant record at the TPC Four Seasons having won and finished runner-up in his two starts to date.
“Yeah, I played great, said Day soon after walking from the 18th green and his mishap there. "Obviously it was tough conditions out there today with the wind, but I felt like I was trying to stay as patient as possible and got away with a few shots out there, but overall very, very happy with how the day went.
“Obviously I love the course. I used to live here locally, I still have the place in Ft. Worth, and I have friend that come and support me. My wife and her dad are down, so we have friends and family which is nice to have in town.
“I really like how the course sets up. I feel like my game suits this course, and with the tough conditions normally, it’s pretty windy, as everyone knows around here, and I feel like I’m a pretty good wind player.
Despite two double bogeys in his round today Marc Leishman is only four from the lead and not yet out of it.
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