World No.230 shoots to the lead in Wells Fargo Championship
AFTER charging to the tournament lead with a 63 in the Wells Fargo Championship second round on Saturday (AEST), Jason Dufner said he was "just thankful to be playing on the weekend'' at North Carolina's Quail Hollow Club.
It's been that kind of lean year for the 42-year-old American, a major championship winner whose world ranking has plummeted to No. 230 and whose best finish this season is a tie for 21st at the Mayakoba Classic.
"It's kind of been few and far between,'' Dufner said of his low rounds.
"(We'll) see how it goes being in the heat of it on Saturday and Sunday. I've been there before, it's been a while, but I kind of know what to expect.
"It will be a good challenge to see where I'm at, what I'm doing.''
Dufner was at 11-under, leading Joel Dahmen and Max Homa, who also shot 63, by one shot.
Rory McIlroy, who shot a scratchy 70, and Patrick Reed were six-under. Defending champion Australian Jason Day and world No. 2 Justin Rose were among those at five-under.
Dufner has been searching for his form so much that he said he's "pretty much changed everything.''
"This is my fourth caddie of the year so far,'' he said.
"I left (coach) Chuck Cook, started doing some other things. I started working with Phil Kenyon.
"I think I'm on my fourth or fifth putter this year. I'm on my fourth or fifth driver, my fourth or fifth golf ball, fourth or fifth lob wedge. I'm trying to find stuff that's going to work.
"My window's pretty short on my career. I've probably got three or four more really good years left in me, so I'm not really trying to be mediocre or average.
"I'm searching for things that are going to make me a better player, and that's what I felt I needed to do at the end of the year.
"I think change can be a good thing. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit, and that's just kind of where I've been at.
"I feel really good with everything right now, and obviously that shows this week.
"By no means do I think that this is the end of me playing good golf. It may have looked like that to some people from the outside for the last 12 months or so, but I feel like I've got a lot of good golf left in me and I'm working hard at it and kind of getting situated.''
Homa, who had eight birdies and no bogeys in his round, insisted he "wasn't thinking about a number'' as he headed to the finish line.
The worst round of the day came from Phil Mickelson, who flamed out with a five-over to miss the cut in his last warm-up event before the PGA Championship at Bethpage.
His front nine 41 was a wild ride with balls hit out of bounds and into water hazards.