Date: March 28, 2016
Author: Martin Blake

Day storms to world matchplay crown

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Jason Day blew away Louis Oosthuizen in the final of the Dell Matchplay in Texas today to continue his rip-roaring stretch in the United States.

Day, who will leap back to No. 1 in the world when the rankings are released tomorrow, has matched Adam Scott's feat of winning back-to-back tournaments on the US PGA Tour, remarkably giving Australia four wins in five weeks.

It is emerging as a red-letter year for Australian golf, with this country already breaking its record of wins on the European Tour.

Day was remarkable again today, beating world No. 2 Rory McIlroy in the semi-final 1-up in the morning, then taking the South African Oosthuizen apart in the afternoon, to complete an unbeaten week.

The Queenslander rolled in a 4m par putt to beat McIlroy on the 18th green after a tight semi-final tussle, gathered himself, then played superbly in the final so that it was over after just 14 holes.

Day won 5&4 when he hit a wedge in close on the 14th hole after Ooshuizen's approach had scuttled through the green. The South African conceded after his chip did not go in, giving Day his second win in the World Golf Championship matchplay in the past three years.

Australia's top player had suffered back spasms after his first-round win and did not know whether he could continue until he warmed up on Thursday. Later he revealed that his team wanted him to have an MRI scan after Wednesday's drama, which he declined.

"It's been an amazing week,'' he said. "I mean, I've really enjoyed this golf course. I've been able to not only utilise the great short game that I've had from last week to this week. But to be able to play the way I have tee-to-green and on top of it, make tough matches, hit the clutch shots, it's been really fantastic.

"I just kept on rolling from last week," Day said of his win in the Arnold Palmer Invitatiional. "And even with a sore back this week, obviously it gradually got better and better, but I'm just really, really pleased with how I played."

It is a sensational warm-up for the Masters at Augusta National beginning Thursday week, a venue where he has suffered several near misses in the past. He will be one of the heavy favourites.

"It's never easy winning,'' he said. "It's very difficult. It may look good sometimes, it may look ugly sometimes but it's very difficult to win. One thing that I need to focus on is I can't get too complacent with how I'm playing. I need to focus on the little things that make me great and really just go into Augusta and prep the exact same way that I always have.''

Day's win effectively ensures he will arrive at Augusta as the world No.1. He went past Jordan Spieth when he won his quarter-final match yesterday, but needed a strong showing today so that the Texan couldn't reclaim the mantle at this week's Houston Open.

Although it's impossible to guage a "final score" this week against the card in the matchplay format, Day was approimxately 29 under through the 101 holes that he played for victories over Graeme McDowell, Thongchai Jaidee, Paul Casey, Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka, McIlroy and Oosthuizen.