sport

Dufner halts defence early

Defending champion Jason Dufner withdrew from the US PGA Championship after playing only 10 holes in the first round at Valhalla.

The 37-year-old American has been struggling with an injury in recent weeks and had an epidural last week to ease the pain caused by two bulging discs in his neck.

However, he said on Wednesday that he was ready to defy the pain in order to defend his title and attempt to secure his place in the US Ryder Cup team despite admitting he needs to take two months off.

Dufner duly teed off on Thursday afternoon in Louisville but he struggled from the start with a double-bogey six on the first hole which was followed by back-to-back bogeys.

A further bogey followed on the sixth and he decided to call it a day after carding a triple-bogey eight on the 10th which left him at eight over.

Dufner currently lies eighth in the standings with the top nine on Sunday evening qualifying automatically for Tom Watson's US team for Gleneagles.