It will be Dufner, whose only two PGA Tour victories came in the past four weeks, against the 2007 Masters Tournament champion who got the last of his seven wins two years ago at Hogan’s Alley.
“It seems like one of us is either going to win or finish second,” Dufner said after his 4-under-par 66 in the third round Saturday.
After two bogeys the previous three holes, Dufner matched playing partner Johnson’s birdie putt on the 17th hole and overcame a wayward final tee shot to save par and keep the lead.
Dufner’s 15-under 195 total put him a stroke ahead of Johnson, who shot 65.
“I really wasn’t aware of (the separation) until I looked at the board on 13. It was more than I anticipated,” Johnson said. “It seemed like I didn’t hear too many roars in front of us, so that’s a telling sign. … I still have 18 holes and that’s my focus. I totally anticipate Dufner to keep doing what he’s doing. There’s not a whole lot going on that’s wrong.”
Dufner, the winner last week in the Byron Nelson Championship about 30 miles away, is trying to win for the third time in his past four starts. He also is trying to do something only Ben Hogan has done.
Hogan, Dufner’s hero, is the only player to win both PGA Tour events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the same year. When he did it in 1946, they weren’t played in consecutive weeks.
The last player to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour was Tiger Woods in 2009.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Virginia Water, England, defending champion Luke Donald remained in position to regain the top spot in the world ranking, shooting 3-under-par 69 to take a two-stroke lead in the BMW PGA Championship.
Donald overcame windy conditions at Wentworth on a day when only three players broke 70, and Ernie Els criticized Tour officials for the state of the greens on the course he redesigned.
Donald is at 11-under 205. He needs to finish solo eighth or better to reclaim the No. 1 spot from Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Benton Harbor, Mich., Roger Chapman shot 7-under-par 64 to take a five-stroke lead into the final round of the Senior PGA Championship.
Chapman finished the day at 14-under par. John Cook began the round tied with Chapman for the lead, but couldn’t keep pace and dropped into second place.
Chapman’s 54-hole score of 199 tied the tournament record set by Sam Snead in 1973.