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American Dufner impresses at Masters

By Julian Linden

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jason Dufner grabbed a share of the clubhouse lead in the second round of the Masters on Friday after shooting a two-under-par 70.

The 35-year-old American rolled in six birdies at Augusta National to reach the halfway stage at five-under-par and in contention to win his first major.

A bogey on the last hole cost him the chance to grab the outright lead but he was still satisfied with his work on a windy day when most players struggled to break par.

"The golf course played a little bit tougher today. The winds picked up a little bit, which makes it a little tricky out here," said Dufner.

"It seems to be bouncing around on the treetops a little bit, so club selection a little bit difficult. It was just a pretty solid round."

Dufner is competing at the Masters for only the second time after spending most of his professional career playing on the second-tier Nationwide Tour.

He has never won a PGA Tour event but almost snatched last year's PGA Championship, the final major of the season, only to lose in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.

That performance gave him the confidence he could compete at the highest level and he arrived at Augusta National this week ready to handle the intense pressure of the Masters.

"There's a lot more going on out there than appears," he said. "I feel like I have the same emotions and same thought processes as a lot of guys, but I seem to not show it quite as well as some other players.

"It's just difficult. It's a test to yourself. You are trying to have the same mentality and confidence out there."

Dufner had a bit of everything in his second round. He made a flying start with birdies on the second and third holes but gave the shots right back when he double-bogeyed the par-three fourth hole.

He picked up three shots in four holes midway through the back nine before his bogey at the last when he hit his approach into a greenside bunker but still at the top of the leaderboard.

"I don't really think about it to be honest with you. I'm just playing a round of golf," he said. "I know the situation and I'm playing a major, I'm playing at Augusta in the Masters."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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