Jason Day has become Australia’s first PGA TOUR champion for 2015, winning an intense four-person playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open, played at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California.
Finishing regulation play on 9-under the card, Day was tied for the lead with Americans J.B Holmes, Harris English and Scott Stallings.
The quartet headed to a playoff at the par-5 18th, which, earlier in regulation play, nearly sank Day’s chances via an overcooked green-side chip shot that rolled off the slick green and stopped just inches short of the water hazard. In the playoff, however, Day showed poise and control, finishing with a tap-in birdie courtesy of a delicate chip from the right-hand side of the green. A birdie from Holmes ensured the playoff would continue, while English and Stallings both dropped out of the playoff with pars.
On the second playoff hole, the par-3 16th, Holmes’ tee shot flew the green and ended up against the corporate marquee, opening the door for Day. A beautiful, pin-seeking tee shot by Day set up a 15-foot birdie opportunity.
Holmes’ chip from the thick rough sailed past the hole, leaving a long par putt attempt. The task proved too much for Holmes, who missed his putt and had to settle for bogey.
Day’s birdie putt narrowly missed the hole, but his ensuing par sealed the title, his third on the PGA TOUR.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I just kept visualising myself all week holding the trophy, like I did at the Match Play, and I just told myself I’m not going to stop,” said Day immediately after his win.
“I am just really proud of myself for hanging in there and grinding it out.”
With this win Day moves to 4th on the Official World Golf Rankings, bypassing fellow Aussie Adam Scott.
“My ultimate goal is to get to number 1 at some point but there are a lot of great golfers in front of me,” added Day.
“It’s a good start to the year, just like last year; hopefully I can stay healthy and give it a good run.”
Day’s win continues a good run for Australian golfers around the world with Mathew Goggin winning on the Web.com Tour and Richard Green taking out the PGA Tour of Australasia’s season opening Oates Vic Open.
“The quality of Australian Professional golfers right now is just so strong, Jason’s win today is certainly evidence of that,” said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“To already have two Aussies winners on International Tours so early in the year is very exciting and certainly sets us all up for a thrilling 2015.”