AUGUSTA — If Jason Dufner took one thing out of his disappointing playoff loss at last year’s PGA Championship, it was confidence.
Dufner, who lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at the Atlanta Athletic Club in August, has carried over his solid play. He finds himself at the top of the Masters leaderboard after two rounds — tied with the aged Fred Couples at 5 under par.
“I had some really nice rounds at the PGA,” Dufner said. “Didn’t quite work out but carried over, I think, into this year. It gave me confidence that I can compete and play at a high level out here and do really nice things.”
Dufner capped his opening-round 3-under 69 on Thursday with a 70 on Friday. Dufner had six birdies in his second round to over come a double-bogey five on No. 4. He missed a chance to hold the lead outright when he bogeyed No. 18.
Through it all, Dufner keeps his stoic attitude on the course — at least outwardly.
“There’s a lot more going on out there than appears,” Dufner said. “I feel like I have the same emotions and same thought processes as a lot of guys, but I seem to not show it quite as well as some other players. It’s just difficult. It’s a test to yourself. You are trying to have the same mentality and confidence out there.”
Perhaps friend Charles Barkley can help out in that regard. The two Auburn alums, friends for more than a year, according to Dufner, hope to play a round of golf together one day. Dufner can surely give Barkley golf tips. Barkley can help Dufner let his personality show.
Dufner is playing in his second Masters, after finishing 30th last year. He has earned money in seven of eight cut-events this season, with a best finish of tied for eighth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.
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