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U.S. Open Golf 2012: Cleveland Native Jason Dufner Riding Hot Streak Into Open

Heading into the 2012 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods has been the early odds favorite to win the championship at the Olympic Club. However if history continues at the San Francisco course, an underdog will rise to the ranks of a golfing legend to steal the title. Enter Cleveland native Jason Dufner.

Dufner has registered two wins and a runner-up finish in his last four starts and is arguably the hottest player entering the Open, which will begin play Thursday. He has also been closing in on his first major championship after losing a late lead and playoff at last year's PGA Championship and sharing the 36-hole lead at this year's Masters.

Most importantly, Dufner is happy with the way he has been playing. Via

"I've played a lot of good golf, worked really hard to get to this level, and enjoyed some of the good play and good finishes, so it's been a lot of fun,'' Dufner said. "I've had a lot of opportunities to play in a lot of good events against some really good players.

"I've just been really consistent with my preparation and my practice, I'm committed to the things I've been working on, committed to getting better physically, mentally, all those areas. The experiences I've gone through have made me a better player, and made me able to be more confident out there when I'm playing.''

For all your news and updates in the run up to the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic, visit SB Nation's dedicated golf hub. Be sure to head over to for even more coverage from the event.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.