PITTSFORD, N.Y. No golfer has recorded a round lower than 63 in a major championship, but as Jason Dufner's ball rolled toward the 18th hole late Friday afternoon, it had a chance to be the 62nd and last stroke of Dufner's day. The ball stopped a foot short.
Dufner's countenance lips together, shoulders drooped and eyes watchful but impassive did not change as the ball dodged history.
Nor did he look impressed when he tapped it into the hole moments later to become the 26th player to shoot a round of 63 in a major. He also had taken the lead at the midpoint of the PGA Championship and had set the competitive-round course record at venerable Oak Hill Country Club.
Dufner was aware of the consequence of the moment. He was only being himself. As only he could, he later explained.
"If I had that last putt over," he said blankly, "I would have hit it harder."
Understatement is Dufner's most demonstrative method of expression, something he has turned into an Internet sensation that began with Dufner slouched and inert against the wall of a children's classroom.
It has made "Dufnering" a popular verb, with his torpid pose imitated worldwide, and it has won him legions of fans who line the fairways as he plays, slumping against trees in tribute as he passes.
In a community of pro golfers known for their fitness regimens, beaming smiles and spotless clothes, Dufner is the shaggy-haired cousin with a paunch and a brow as wrinkled as his shirt.
It is hard to keep a crease when slouched against a wall.
Asked about his cult hero status Friday, Dufner almost smiled and said: "People have kind of latched onto my personality and how I play golf and carry myself. It's great to have people identifying with you in whatever way they seem fit. For me, it's neat for people to want to come to the golf course and watch me play golf."
Dufner whose two-round total of 131 and 9 under par was a PGA Championship record and gave him a two-stroke lead over Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk had five birdies and an eagle. He holed a 105-yard sand wedge from the second fairway for the eagle and steadily made his way up the leaderboard from there.
His 63 bettered the Oak Hill record of 64 set in 1942 by Ben Hogan and tied by Curtis Strange in 1989.
Earlier Friday, Webb Simpson also had shot a 64.
Dufner was trailed by fans wearing "Duf's Dips" T-shirts, a gaggle who chanted "63" at the end of his round, something that did for a second draw a wide grin from the object of their attention.
Heavy rain in the morning had soaked the greens and fairways, making the course susceptible to a low round. Players could tee off with their drivers knowing that a slightly wayward shot would not run through the fairway. Aggressive approach shots to greens were less risky, since the ball would check up on the soft putting surfaces.
Holding the lead at the PGA Championship also had some personal symbolism for Dufner.
Two years ago, he led the tournament by five strokes with four holes to play. He bogeyed three holes, then lost in a playoff with Keegan Bradley.
Dufner has rebounded to become a star on the PGA Tour, and not just for his wall-sitting.
"I've got more experience now in these majors," Dufner said. "I've won some events and been close to winning some others. That will help. I'm looking forward to closing one of these out. I'm excited to be in the lead."
He did not look excited. But that's not unusual.