Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Jason holds off Ernie in playoff April 30 2012
Stan Badz/PGA TOURZurich Classic of New Orleans was won by Jason Dufner, after a two hole play off against the resurgent Ernie Els. Both players were tied at -19 under par at the conclusion of the final round, with Luke Donald two shots behind. The title was decided at the second playoff hole Jason getting a birdie against Ernie's par at the 18th. This win, Jason's first PGA tour win, should also stamp out some of the bad memories haunting Dufner since the Masters, when he shared the lead after two rounds but faded to 24th. Congratulations to Jason for his win, and good luck next week for your wedding ceremony to your lovely fiancée Amanda Boyd. Jason said afterwards; "There's a been a good bit of pressure. People talking about, `Why aren't you winning? Why can't you close the deal? Friends, family, media, even people in my inner circle. And not in a negative way, but when you're leading tournaments going into weekends and you're finishing 24th, there's going to be some questions. It's always really tough playing on Sundays whether you're in lead or middle of pack, and today I was fighting, trying to win event, and I think I showed myself a good bit out there. It was tough. Ernie made a great run at me and it felt like with five or six holes (to go) we were probably going to be battling for the win. To get the monkey off of my back, it's a great feeling." Amanda was ecstatic; "It's awesome. He's been so close so many times. I don't feel like it's real.It will be a good wedding." Jason also added; "Great wedding present for both of us. It helps with paying for the wedding, obviously. They're a little more expensive than I thought or had imagined. It'll be a big celebration not only for our marriage but also for my first victory out on the Tour." Ernie, The Big Easy, hasn't won on the PGA TOUR since 2010, he did not have a single bogey in the final round or playoff, and would have won his 19th career PGA TOUR title in, of all places, the Big Easy. Ernie reflected on his missed chance; "It was a nice little charge I made and, you know, nice to catch the leader. I had a chance to win the tournament with a 6-footer and missed it, but I made quite a few putts on the back nine to keep myself in it. Hit the ball pretty well today, no bogeys on the final round so there's a lot of positives." Luke Donald shot a 67 to finish the tournament at -17 under par, and in doing so regains the number one spot in the world. Luke said; "That's a nice consolation. It's been going back and forth a little bit. Rory's turn next week. It was a little bit of a motivation to try and play well today."