Dufner takes Zurich lead with second-round 65

Jason Dufner during Round 2 of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

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AVONDALE, La. – Jason Dufner moved into position for yet another bid to win his first PGA Tour title, shooting a 7-under 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead in the Zurich Classic.

Dufner lost a playoff to Keegan Bradley last year in the PGA Championship for one of his three runner-up finishes in 163 winless starts on the PGA Tour. He capped his bogey-free round with a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to reach 12 under at TPC Louisiana.

Russell Knox, John Rollins and Ken Duke were tied for second. Knox shot 64, Rollins 66, and Duke 68. Greg Chalmers holed out from 137 yards for an eagle on the par-4 first hole and finished with a 64 to join Steve Stricker and Ernie Els at 10 under. Striker and Els shot 68.

Defending champion Bubba Watson had his second-straight 71 to make the cut by a stroke in his first tournament since his playoff victory in the Masters.

Second-ranked Luke Donald was 6 under after a 65.

Dufner opened with a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 1, and added three straight birdies on the par-4 fifth and sixth holes and the par-5 seventh. He also birdied the par-5 11th.

He's second on the tour in pre-cut scoring, but is 98th in third rounds and 108th in final rounds. He shared the 36-hole lead at the Masters with rounds of 69-70, but closed with consecutive 75s.

Knox, a Nationwide Tour graduate playing in his ninth tournament, had seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey.

Stricker had four consecutive birdies to tie Dufner, then missed a 2-foot birdie putt on the 11th that would have given him sole possession of the lead. He stumbled home with two bogeys.

Donald also holed out from the fairway on the first hole, marking the first two eagles on the hole since the tournament was first played at the course in 2005, although the event moved to English Turn in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina.

John Daly, playing on a sponsor exemption, missed the cut. He followed his opening 73 with an 80.

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