EDISON, NEW JERSEY: Five days after having an MRI on his troublesome back, Jason Day stood tall and moved to the top of the FedEx Cup standings after a stunning six-shot triumph at The Barclays.
In the town that was the first to boast electric illuminated street lamps, the Queenslander carved his own way into history with a mesmerising four days on the Plainfield Country Club course.
Day created US PGA Tour history becoming the first modern Australian player to win four times in a single season, edging past Greg Norman who won three times in 1986 and 1995, although the “Shark” also the 1986 European Open across the Atlantic.
Sydney-born Jim Ferrier, who passed away in 1986 aged 71, holds the record with five wins on the 1951 US PGA Tour, capturing the St. Petersburg Open, Miami Beach Open, Jacksonville Open, Canadian Open and the Fort Wayne Open.
Ferrier's biggest achievement of course was in winning the 1947 PGA Championship to proudly become the first Australian-born player to win one of the three US-based Majors.
As well, the great Bruce Crampton, 79, won four times on the PGA Tour in 1973 capturing the Phoenix Open, the Dean Martin Tucson Open, Houston Open and American Golf Classic.
Day, 27, was in a class of his own, shooting 63-62 across the weekend to give him back-to-back PGA Tour triumphs after winning the PGA Championship in his past start to give him three wins in four starts since the Canadian Open.
Day unseated Jordan Spieth atop the money list, with the Texan paying a heavy price for missing the cut by losing, after just a fortnight, his World No.1 ranking to Rory McIlroy.
Day heads to Boston and Friday's start to the Deutsche Bank Championship with the mathematical chance of going past both McIlroy and Spieth and to World No.1.
There had been an injury cloud hanging over Day since he withdrew from Wednesday’s Pro-Am after revealing he had tweaked his back late on Tuesday removing a box from under this motorhome, while it didn’t help his cause earlier that day when he helped push a broken-down motorised golf cart.
The injury enabled Day to get an MRI and he was emboldened when doctors at nearby St. Peter’s Hospital reported his back to be “structurally sound”.
The stifling conditions were clearly in Day’s favour in posting a pair of opening 68s and then a sizzling third-day 63 that put him in the final round of the $US8.25m event sharing the lead with Korean Sangmoon Bae.
But it was the closest anyone got to Day as he birdied two of his opening four holes and then the seventh today before completing his inward half in five under par including a closing birdie for the second day running.
After breaking down in tears over his tap-in victory putt at Whistling Straits, it was a clearly more composed Day who looked very much in control as he spread his arms in triumph.
“It’s just great to get my first FedEx Cup win and I’m really going to try and make this push for the FedEx Cup,” he said.
“It’s been a good summer for me and I never expected to come out and play the way I did today.
“So it’s been an amazing year and just the work and the dedication I’ve put in over the years, it feels like it’s finally paying off. It’s just been a whirlwind kind of summer.
“To be able to play the way I did over the weekend was fantastic, today was just phenomenal golf.
“But then I have to say it’s a lot easier coming down the stretch (than) in a major championship, I can tell you that. I don’t know what to say, as this week has been just fantastic.”
JASON DAY, BY THE NUMBERS …
• First Barclays Championship success in eighth straight appearance – previous best T2 in 2014
• Sixth PGA Tour victory – 2010 Byron Nelson Championship, 2014 WGC Accenture Match-Play Championship, 2015 Farmers Insurance Open, 2015 Canadian Open, 2015 US PGA Championship & 2015 Barclays Championship.
• Victory comes in his 168th PGA Tour start.
• 74 events between 2010 Byron Nelson and 2014 WGC Accenture Match-Play, but then just a further 17 events to capture 2015 Farmers Insurance, and now three other victories in the space of 15 events this season.
• Second Australian to win The Barclays after Adam Scott in 2013.
• First Australian to win four tournaments in a single PGA Tour season.
• His $US1.485m to take his US PGA Tour earnings to $25,169,136