Golf: Jason Dufner survives playoff to claim first title in more than two years

Jason Dufner (left) is presented with the trophy by former President Bill Clinton after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Jason Dufner (left) is presented with the trophy by former President Bill Clinton after winning the CareerBuilder Challenge.PHOTO: AFP

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA (REUTERS) - Golfer Jason Dufner clinched his first title in more than two years with a nerve-jangling playoff victory over David Lingmerth at the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California on Sunday.

Swede Lingmerth's bid for a second career win on the circuit ended with a splash and double-bogey at the second extra hole, the par-four 18th, after he hit his approach into water, while Dufner safely two-putted from long range for a decisive par.

Both players had parred the first extra hole, also the 18th, with Dufner sinking a clutch 10-footer to keep his title hopes alive after he had conjured a miraculous escape on the penultimate hole of regulation, the par-three 17th.

Dufner, who won his fourth Tour title, came perilously close to finding water off the tee on the 17th. However, his ball ended up in a clean lie beside rocks just off the back of the green from where he nearly holed out for birdie before tapping in for par.

"I am fortunate to be in this position and happy to be playing good golf again," said Dufner after ending a title drought dating back to his victory at the 2013 PGA Championship.

The duo had finished the 72 regulation holes at 25-under 263 after a wildly fluctuating final round where four players held at least a share of the lead.

Dufner narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt at the last before carding a two-under 70 while Lingmerth carded a bogey-free 65 at PGA West's TPC Stadium Course.

Twice former champion Phil Mickelson, competing in his first event since last October's Presidents Cup, closed with a 68 to share third place at 21 under with fellow Americans Andrew Loupe (68) and Kevin Na (68).