Furyk made par on 4, too, but Dufner’s birdie on the only par five on the front nine tied him for the lead at nine under.
Then, on the same 5th hole where he double-bogeyed the day before to give up the lead, Dufner spun his wedge approach to two feet and, with his birdie, became the first player in competitive history at Oak Hill to rise to 10 under par, grabbing the outright lead.
On the par-three 6th, Furyk, from 35 feet, drained a long birdie putt, and with Dufner’s par they were both 10 under. Even though Henrik Stenson stayed close for a long while, it started to take the feel of a duel between Furyk and Dufner for the crown, especially after both of them made long par putts on 7 to stay at 10 under.
Yet on the par-four 8th, Dufner drilled another wedge to tap-in range for a birdie to get to 11 under and reclaim the outright lead, this time for good. Furyk bogeyed on 9, and so with nine holes to play, Dufner, who blazed through a front-nine 32, led by two shots.
They both strung together pars on the first six holes of the back nine (10 through 15), so the margin remained two, which left Dufner with half the leading margin he carried to the final four holes of the PGA two years ago at Atlanta Athletic Club, where he ended up losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley.
But this was not 2011. On the par-four 16th, Dufner’s wedge shot spun back to a foot and a tap-in birdie, so even though Furyk made his own birdie on 16, the margin remained two.
A hole later, at 17, Furyk pulled his approach into the left rough, left his chip short and bogeyed. But Dufner three-putted, so he still had to navigate the long par-four 18th in par to be sure of victory.