Date: January 29, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

Day, Noren to come back at Torrey


Jason Day will have to wait another night to see if his personal drought has broken.

Day, whose winless stretch dates to the Players in Florida in May 2016, reached a playoff in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego today, but after five holes of playoff, he and Sweden’s Alex Noren could not be separated, and darkness intervened.

Day and Noren both made birdies at the par-five 18th hole, after going birdie, birdie, par, par in the four playoff holes prior to that. Noren had a chance to win outright with a long eagle putt on the fourth playoff hole, but ultimately had to make a nerve-tester to continue the playoff after Day made a great up-and-down birdie from 100 metres.

American Ryan Palmer also made the playoff at 10-under par but dropped out when he could only make par at the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th hole at Torrey, while Day and Noren both made birdies.

Day has played some of his best golf at the venue where he announced himself by winning the 2004 world junior championship.

He made a nerveless three-metre birdie putt at the first playoff hole to ensure that his chances of winning would remain, and several brilliant iron shots including one at the fifth playoff hole that he nearly jarred for eagle. Given that darkness had fallen and Noren had knocked a hybrid club shot on to the green to give himself an eagle chance, it was some shot. “I couldn’t even see the flag,’’ said Day afterward. “All I could see was a bit of yellow.’’

Once they both birdied again at the fifth playoff hole, there was no way of continuing. The playoff will continue tomorrow morning, eastern American time.

“That’s okay,’’ said Day. “I mean Alex is playing some tremendous golf. To be able to go through there and go shot-for-shot was pretty special. I’m going to try to get some rest tonight, and I’ll play all day tomorrow to try and get the win. This is why we practice. It’s a lot of fun to be out there in amongst the crowds.’’

Day began the day just off the pace but three early birdies took him to the top of the leaderboard. But in windy conditions, the field compacted and he ultimately carded a two-under par 70 to reach the playoff.

Beset by injuries and family issues in the past 18 months, Day has fallen to 14th in the world rankings after spending 47 of his 51 total weeks at No.1 until as recently as February last year.

Marc Leishman was the best of the other Australians, finishing tied-eighth.

The other big news was the optimistic finish of Tiger Woods, who carded a 72 to finish tied-23rd in his first start in a full-field tournament for a year. Although he hit only 30 percent of fairways over the four rounds, the worst result in the field, he scrapped in familiar fashion.

“After not playing for a couple years and coming out here on the tour, playing, you know, a solid four days, I fought hard for these scores,” Woods said. “They weren’t like drive down the middle, hit it on the green, two-putt, one of those yawners. This was a lot of fight.”


1- 18th hole (par 5): Noren layed up and pitched close, meaning Day had to make a three-metre birdie to continue. Palmer drops out of the three-man playoff.

2- 18th hole: Noren and Day both hit the green in two and two-putt for birdie. Day's second shot is awesome, but his putt to win just misses.

3- 16th hole (par 3): Both players make par. Day's birdie putt stops a roll short of the cup.

4- 17th hole (par 4): Both players make par. Again, Day just misses his birdie putt.

5- 18th hole: Day finds a fairway trap and Noren hits the green in two, applying the pressure. Day almost holes his short iron approach. Noren's longish eagle putt to win slides past, and Day makes birdie from just beyond a metre. Noren holes for birdie. Play is called.