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Closing holes could decide it — Dufner

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Jason Dufner suspects the final three holes on the back nine could be where the Grand Slam is won and lost, with Port Royal’s signature 16th hole, in particular, striking fear into his heart. The two-day, 36-hole strokeplay competition, billed as “the most exclusive tournament in golf”, gets underway today, bringing together the winners of the year’s four majors. And Dufner, the PGA Championship winner, hopes the elite foursome will be “bunched up” heading into tomorrow’s final stretch to ensure an exciting finish. “Obviously hole 16, the signature hole, is a very difficult hole,” said the American. “Especially late in the tournament come Wednesday, you could see a two shot or even a three shot swing on that hole. “The next hole, 17, is a little bit of a challenge but they have kind of made it tougher with some bunkering and a water hazard, so you really can’t get too aggressive off the tee. “And then 18 is kind of a birdie hole playing downwind, so you can see a lot of change in the leaderboard. “Hopefully we’ll have guys that are kind of bunched up there and give some excitement to the event. I think that finish to the golf course is pretty strong.” Masters winner Scott believes the golfer who best manages to negotiate the “serious wind” at Port Royal will emerge victorious. “Well, it was a little tough out there today I must say,” he said after yesterday’s Pro-Am. “It’s hard to really gauge how well you’re playing. But it was good to get a feel for the course in some serious wind, because I think that’s what we’re expecting the next couple of days. “The wind is what makes this course a real challenge. The rough is long, so hitting the fairways is going to be premium whether the wind is up or not. “I’ve had three looks at the course now, which I think is helpful. Hopefully it holds me in good stead over the next couple of days.” Scott, who has travelled to the Island with his father Phil, said he plans on enjoying his Bermudian experience as much as he can, both on and off the course. “Bermuda’s been great. It’s been nice to come and actually spend some time in a place that we go to, especially a place as nice as Bermuda,” he said. “There’s only one way you can get here, really, and that’s by being a major champion. “The fuss that the PGA make over us this week is extremely nice and they remind you that you should be proud of your achievements.”

Masters champion Adam Scott tees off at the par-five seventh hole during yesterday's Pro-Am at Port Royal. He's up against Justin Rose, Jason Duffner and Padraig Harrington in the first round of the Grand Slam today. (Photo by Mark Tatem)