As play ended on Friday, April 27, 2012, Jason Dufner claimed a one shot lead in the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Dufner has played in more than 150 PGA Tour events in his career, with over $8 million in earnings, but has yet to claim his first championship. Adding interest to this weekend's finish is the presence of Rookie Russell Knox and Ken Duke, only one shot behind, also in search of their first career wins on the PGA Tour.
Dufner has 18 Top Ten finishes in 163 prior PGA Tour events. He nearly won twice in 2011, finishing second in playoffs at both the Waste Management Phoenix Open and PGA Championship. In two rounds this week he has averaged 25 putts per round, the best in the field. He has played bogey-free for the last 20 holes, including an eagle at the par-5 18th hole in Friday's second round. Jason Dufner will begin Saturday's third round at 12-under par for the tournament.
Playing on the Nationwide Tour in 2011, Russell Knox won the Chiquita Classic and finished #12 on the money list to earn a PGA Tour card for 2012. With less than $50,000 in earnings, missing the cut in six out of eight events entered, he has literally struggled to make ends meet in his rookie PGA Tour season. With seven birdies on Friday, plus an eagle at the 18th hole, Knox shot an 8-under par 64 in the second round to tie the TPC Louisiana course record. He is 11-under par for the tournament and will be paired with Jason Dufner and Ken Duke in the final group in Saturday's third round.
Ken Duke has nearly $6 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, with 14 Top Ten finishes in 149 events entered, but (like Dufner and Knox) is still chasing his first victory. In his two rounds this week he has suffered only one bogey, at the 16th hole on Friday, posting scores of 65 and 68. Five years ago, he finished second at the 2007 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Ken Duke is playing very well in New Orleans once again, hoping to improve one position this time and claim his first PGA Tour win.
The headliners at the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans include Bubba Watson (2012 Masters Champion and 2011 winner at New Orleans) and Luke Donald (currently ranked #2 in the world). The leaders after 36 holes, however, are three professionals still looking to win for the first time in their PGA Tour careers.
Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jason Dufner
- Zurich Classic of New Orleans
- PGA Tour
- Ken Duke
- Russell Knox