Jason Day says he’d happily try again the “crazy” shot that cost him his chance at the US PGA Championship.
The Australian carded a closing one-under-par 70 today to finish his Quail Hollow odyssey at one under and tied ninth – seven shots behind champion Justin Thomas – despite his quadruple-bogey eight to end his third round a day earlier.
Six-time major champion Nick Faldo labelled Day’s attempt to go for the green from behind a tree — needing a big hook off pine straw around trees — “one of the craziest decisions I’ve ever seen”.
Day’s shot ended up in a shrub, requiring a penalty drop before a handful of other errant shots led to a tournament-ending eight .
“It wasn’t the way I planned that 18th hole going,” Day said after finishing up today.
“I’ll chalk it up to making a better decision next time.
“But with (then leader) Kevin Kisner in the middle of the fairway, my hand was forced a little bit. You don’t want to be too far back going into the last round.
“I was trying to hit a low hook and I slipped a little bit. Nine times out of 10, I’ve got that shot.
“Hindsight is great, but chipping out brought the water hazard in play.”
The 10-time US PGA Tour winner said he would probably take the same risk again in a similar situation.
“Unfortunately, I think I’d take it on again. That’s why some players are great. It’s the right shot if you’re willing to take the consequence,” Day said.
“I’m really good at hitting into the junk, but I’m good at hitting out of the junk as well.
“I feel I can take on a lot of shots some people can’t. I feel I’m talented enough to do that; unfortunately it didn’t work out for me.
“I thought I had the shot but it clipped the tree and if it didn’t, I probably make (bogey) at worst.”
The Ohio-based Queenslander says his aggressive style has been instrumental in previous victories, including his maiden Tour win at the 2010 Byron Nelson Classic.
“My first win, I hit it through a tree (with a gap) the size of two feet during the last round,” he said.
Day fired birdies on the 14th and 15th today to edge past Victorian Marc Leishman as the low Australian.
Leishman was one of five players to card the day’s low round of 67, but the only one to go bogey-free as he moved from four over to even par in total.
But nobody could go with Thomas, who won by two shots from American Patrick Reed, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Italy's Francesco Molinari after a series of chasers rose and fell away.
The 24-year-old — whose father is a club professional and whose late grandfather was a long-time professional who qualified for the 1962 US Open — became the eighth first-time major winner since 2015.
At this year's US Open, Thomas — a close friend of three-time major winner Jordan Spieth — had gone in to the final round one shot off the lead of Brooks Koepka.
But he bogeyed three of his first five holes to ruin his chances.
Today, Thomas entered the final round at five under, two shots behind Kisner, and again looked in strife when he had two bogeys and a birdie in the opening three holes.
But he then put together three birdies in four holes from the seventh, capped by a dramatic putt on the 10th which stopped agonisingly on the edge of the hole before one last roll dropped it into the cup.
He gave the crowd something else to cheer about on the 13th when he chipped in from the fringe for another birdie to take a two-shot lead.
And his magnificent birdie on the tough par-three 17th gave him a sufficient cushion to overcome a bogey on the last hole.
First-time major winners since 2015
Jordan Spieth — 2015 Masters
Jason Day — 2015 US PGA
Danny Willett — 2016 Masters
Dustin Johnson — 2016 US Open
Henrik Stenson — 2016 British Open
Jimmy Walker — 2016 US PGA
Sergio Garcia — 2017 Masters
Brooks Koepka — 2017 US Open
Justin Thomas — 2017 US PGA