Jason Dufner is on fire at the Memorial Tournament, and the 2013 PGA champion has surged to a five-shot lead heading into the weekend rounds at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
On the back of consecutive 7-under 65s, Dufner has set the 36-hole tournament scoring record as he made a second eagle in as many days.
Among the keys for Dufner’s success through the first 36 is his putting, which isn’t typically the first skill most golf fans think of when they think of Dufner. However, he’s 30 of 32 from inside 10 feet. Dufner said he’s figured out a more repeatable approach is key.
“It seems like the guys that putt well, their routine is pretty crisp, pretty clean, pretty consistent,” he said. “I think I’ve lacked in that area at times. This week it’s working well for me.”
The other key to his putting has been coming up with a bit of a distraction. Dufner has focused on his breathing, and it’s a technique he taught himself after learning how Marine snipers control theirs.
“A friend of mine sent me some research on it — a doctor, and he works with sniper shooters in the Marines,” Dufner said. He added, “It just talked about how they really focus on their breathing and where they’re. I can’t really feel my heartbeat, slowing my heartbeat down, but that’s the obvious goal. I think the one thing that also helps it gives me something to think about other than my stroke or holing this putt or the situation I’m in. Subconsciously I’m just putting but I’m more focused on my breathing and where I’m at with that.”
Despite a five-shot cushion between himself and second place Daniel Summerhays, Dufner knows from experience that his record pace is unlikely to continue on the weekend and that things will tighten. Jack’s place tends to firm up, like in a major, for the final two rounds. That means Dufner is preparing to readjust his thinking.
“There’s a big challenge on this golf course, I think it gets a little tougher, generally speaking, on the weekend,” Dufner said. “So I won’t be quite expecting to shoot 14-under on the weekend. But maybe the whether, the soft rain will make the course soft and more playable. So we’ll just kind of go from there and see how it goes.”