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Newly-wed Dufner dreams of Ryder Cup after magic month

updated 10:29 AM EDT, Mon May 21, 2012
American golfer Jason Dufner rose to a career-high 14th in the world rankings after winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
American golfer Jason Dufner rose to a career-high 14th in the world rankings after winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justin Dufner leads FedEx Cup standings after his second win in three weeks
  • The 35-year-old hoping to qualify for U.S. Ryder Cup team in September
  • In 22 days he has pocketed more than $2.2 million and got married
  • Former U.S. Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim suffers injury setback

(CNN) -- In just over three weeks, Jason Dufner has won his first two PGA Tour titles and got married.

As the new leader of the FedEx Cup series, the American has catapulted himself into the top-15 of the world rankings and is considered a real contender to win his first major at next month's U.S. Open.

But what he really wants is a spot in Davis Love's Ryder Cup squad come September as the U.S. team seeks to avenge the 2010 defeat by Europe.

"I hope it gets Davis Love's attention. I think I will be No. 1 in the points, so I hope that gets his attention," Dufner told reporters after sinking a final-hole birdie to avoid a playoff at the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday.

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"Obviously being a Ryder Cup year, that would be special to have on your resume and play in, even if it's only for one time. That was one of my main goals. The FedEx Cup, being No. 1 is a great position to be in, but we're maybe a little more than halfway through, so we have a long haul on that."

Having been winless for 163 PGA Tour starts, Dufner finally broke his duck in New Orleans at the end of last month when he beat three-time major winner Ernie Els in a playoff to claim the $1.15 million first prize at the Zurich Classic.

The 35-year-old then wed his partner Amanda, had his honeymoon at last week's Players Championship in Florida and took home another $1.17 million in Texas on Sunday as he denied fellow Alabama resident Dicky Pride the chance to claim his second title 18 years after his first -- which would have been a record gap.

"All these things that come with winning are great but I don't think much about 'em, other than the Ryder Cup and trying to win tournaments," Dufner said.

"You probably couldn't dream it any better than what's been going on here. The wedding has been in the works for close to a year so -- I guess I proposed in July -- but to win two events and get married in the span of 22 days, it's pretty remarkable.

"Amanda and I are lucky to be in the position we're in and to have each other and enjoy what's going on around us right now."

Last year Dufner was twice denied his maiden victory in playoffs, the latter coming in the PGA Championship as Keegan Bradley claimed his first major, but he insists he never lost faith that the breakthrough would come.

Rickie Fowler, one of golf's most colorful characters, celebrates his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow, where he won in a playoff against 2010 champion Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points. Rickie Fowler, one of golf's most colorful characters, celebrates his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow, where he won in a playoff against 2010 champion Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points.
Fowler's first
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"People don't realize how fine the line is between winning. Sometimes that can be a hard pill to swallow, but when I've been on the other side of it, I always took encouragement from it, that I was playing great golf, and my time was going to come," he said.

"I think it really just propelled me this offseason. I played some events overseas where I played well, and I was thinking coming into the beginning of this year that I could play some really good golf. It's time to win some events out here.

"I feel comfortable on the golf course when I'm out there. I feel like I'm in good control of my game, getting better emotionally with dealing with the pressures of trying to win out here."

Meanwhile, former U.S. Ryder Cup player Anthony Kim has no chance of qualifying for this year's match in Illinois after being ruled out for up to five months with arm injuries.

Kim missed the 2010 defeat in Wales after having thumb surgery, and now he faces another long rehabilitation after damaging his right elbow when he hit a rock at the Texas Open as well as suffering from tendinitis in his left forearm.

"I'm obviously disappointed because I've been fighting to get my game back on the right track and having an injury hold me back is frustrating," the three-time winner said in a statement on the PGA Tour website.

"I've been through this process before, though, and know that you have to put in your work with treatments to get healthy. That will be my focus for the next four or five months so I'm in a position to return healthy towards the end of the year and be fully ready for 2013."

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