Jason Day has won his second PGA Tour of the season, securing the Wells Fargo Championship with a rollicking finish in Charlotte, North Carolina today in a week when he announced that he and wife Ellie are having a third child.
Day had an up-and-down final round at Quail Hollow, racing to a three-shot lead just after the turn, losing the outright lead when he hit his tee shot in the water at the 14th, then making two huge birdies down the stretch to close it out.
His brilliant finish included a near hole-in-one at the par-three 17th when his seven iron shot from 200 metres hit the flag and stopped just inside a metre from the cup. It was the shot that won the tournament for him.
The Australian won by two shots from Americans Nick Watney and Aaron Wise, carding 12-under in a week when his putter was white hot.
It is an outstanding preparation for the Players Championship at Sawgrass this week, a tournament that he previously won in 2016.
It was his 12th career win on the big tour. Day won the Farmers Insurance Championship in California in January after a winless 2017, his first winless season in more than three years.
Day’s ball-striking was poor in the final round but he scrambled a two-under par 69.
“I had no idea where the ball was going today, especially off the tee,’’ he said. “I missed a lot of fairways, missed greens, and my short game stood the test, which was nice. This is probably one of the best wins I’ve ever had because of how hard everything was today.’’
He has stated that he aims to return to No. 1 in the world, a mantle he held on three separate occasions in 2015 and 2016. Before this week the Australian was ranked 14th in the world.
The Queenslander had begun the final round with a two-shot lead over Watney, but the big challenger was American rookie Wise, winner of the Master of the Amateurs tournament at Royal Melbourne just two years ago.
Wise shot 68 for the final round and had joined Day in the lead at 10-under by the time the Australian, having an attack of the ‘lefts’, rinsed his ball in the lake left of the 14th fairway.
But Day quickly reestablished his authority with a 350-metre drive at the 16th then a wedge to three metres, rolling in the right-to-left putt to regain the lead. At the 17th, he almost jarred his tee shot and brushed in another birdie so that by the time he hit the 18th tee, he only needed to play an iron for safety, holding a two-shot lead.
Although he missed the green to the right he chipped up close and rolled in the par-saver from two-metres to win.
The 30-year-old will rise to No. 2 on the Fedex Cup standings and will likely jump into the world’s top 10 rankings.
Day continued his incredible streak of safe putting from inside five feet, the number reaching a consecutive 173. Earlier this week he talked about his scrambling ability as being crucial.
“I'd much rather have a great short game than be the best ball-striker on the plane,’’ he said.
Greg Chalmers was the best of the other Australians, finishing tied-21st.
Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods finished tied-55th after a closing 74 that did not include a single birdie. “It was just a bad week,’’ said Woods.
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