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May 28, 2017

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Dufner closes with 25 foot birdie to win Byron Nelson Championship

IRVING, Texas -- Jason Dufner sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole to win the PGA Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday, taking his second title of the year only three weeks after ending a 163-event win drought.

Dufner fired a final-round 67, 3-under par, to finish on 11-under 269 and edge fellow American Dicky Pride by one stroke after Pride had made a similar 22-foot par putt from nearly the same spot to stay even with Dufner.

"There were a lot of people making a lot of shots down the stretch," Dufner said. "Luckily I had a nice chance at 18 to close it out. I had a good feel for the putt. I didn't want a playoff."

On April 29, Dufner won at New Orleans to end a long win drought that included squandering a late lead at last year's PGA Championship. On May 5, Dufner married his girlfriend, Amanda Boyd.

And on Sunday, he won the US$1.17 million top prize at a US$6.5 million event at TPC Four Seasons to join compatriot Hunter Mahan as the only multiple winners of the U.S. PGA Tour this season.

"Two wins and to get married in the same month, it doesn't get much better professionally or personally," Dufner said.

Dufner had back-to-back bogeys at the second and third holes but then birdied the fourth and fifth as well as the par-5 7th. He went birdie-bogey to open the back nine and birdied the par-5 16th before his winning birdie at 18.

Pride settled for second after a final-round 68. After three birdies in a row, he found water off the tee at 18, then sank a tense par putt. Pride has not won since taking his lone PGA title in 1994 at Memphis as a rookie.

"It feels really good," Pride said. "I played solid all week. A lot of confidence in myself. I know I can play at this level."

Australian Marc Leishman, Sweden's Jonas Blixt and Americans Joe Durant and J.J. Henry shared third on 271 with Americans Phil Mickelson and Ken Duke next on 274 after what had been a six-man shootout over the back nine.

Henry appeared to have the title in hand with birdies at 15 and 16 for a one-stroke lead at 11-under, but went left off the tee at the par-3 17th, missed a 27-footer for par then missed a 2-1/2-footer and took a double bogey.

Henry had aced the par-3 fifth hole.

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