Jason Day has 10 US PGA Tour wins – but it’s nowhere near enough to sate the title-hungry Australian
The 28-year-old completed a wire-to-wire victory at The Players in Florida today to secure one of the biggest wins of his career.
The world No. 1 endured a tough day at TPC Sawgrass, but prevailed, carding a 71 to win by four shots at 15 under overall.
The Queenslander has won seven of his past 17 tournaments around the world, including a major (the US PGA last year), a World Golf Championship event (the World Match Play) and the so-called fifth major (The Players). It is a stretch that compares with Tiger Woods at his very peak.
Day becomes the fourth Australian to win The Players behind Greg Norman, Steve Elkington and Adam Scott, who was the most recent in 2004.
He has now closed out tournaments on the past five occasions he has held the 54-hole lead.
Day became the seventh Australian to win at least 10 US PGA Tour events and is just the fifth player behind Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, David Duval and Phil Mickelson to win 10 times before his 29th birthday.
He joins Woods, Scott, Martin Kaymer and Mickelson as players to have won a major, a WGC event and The Players in their careers.
“I look at that 10 PGA Tour wins, and I say to myself, `That's not enough’, and it isn't enough for me,” Day said.
“It's just 10. I want more than 10.
“I look at Tiger and he's (got) 79 and I'm just like, `OK, I want to be able to be looked back on and know that I was one of the greats in the game.
“I have the opportunity to do that right now, try and work as hard as I can to really leave my footprint in this game.”
American Kevin Chappell (69) finished second at 11 under, the second time this year he's been runner up to Day including the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Justin Thomas (65), Colt Knost (69), veteran Ken Duke (72) and former champion Matt Kuchar (68) finished at 10 under.
Day is due up next at the Memorial tournament in two weeks in his American base of Columbus, Ohio.
Starting out at 14-under with a lead of four, Day made two bogeys on the front nine and watched his buffer reduced to two through the turn, before a birdie at the par-four 10th steadied him.
Another birdie at the 12th, then a further birdie at the par-five 16th gave him all the buffer he needed, and no one could make a run from behind.
At the treacherous island green 17th he only just carried the water, but made a steady, two-putt par, then walked to the 18th with the four-shot break over Chappell, and took an iron from the tee, splitting the fairway. A wedge to the green and two putts completed the task.
His wife Ellie and children Dash and Lucy were there to greet him. His winner's cheque is around $US1.8 million, a victory that he set up with a course record-equalling 63 on Thursday.
He takes over the lead in the season-long FedEx Cup from Adam Scott as Australians continue to hold the top two places.
Scott had a great finish today, a 68 to finish tied-12th.