Jason Day battles to Quail Hollow victory
Jason Day started Sunday at Quail Hollow with a two-shot lead and that was how he ended it after claiming the Wells Fargo Championship.
But what happened in between was far from straightforward for the Australian as he battled hard and scrambled impeccably to claim his second PGA Tour win of the year.
The former world No.1 was far from his best on Sunday in North Carolina but in a star-studded field that included former Open Champions Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, Day emerged on top.
Day’s record on and around the greens has been sublime in 2018 but the former US PGA champion could not get it going off the tee on Sunday.
And with youngster Aaron Wise and unheralded Nick Watney both pressing hard – not to mention the likes of Paul Casey and 2013 Champion Golfer Phil Mickelson, who ended up in a tie for fifth – Day had to produce his best when it mattered.
But after birdieing 16 and 17 – including a near-hole in one on the par three penultimate hole – the 30-year-old gave himself just enough daylight to emerge victorious.
And with the Players Championship, that Day won back in 2016, up next – the Australian will take confidence but also some food for thought.
“This is probably one of the best wins I have ever had just because of how hard it was,” he said.
“You are playing mental games with yourself, telling yourself you are going to fail, but I kept forgetting about those thoughts and trying to give myself opportunities.
“I was putting well all week and it was great to birdie 16 and 17.
“But I need to do a lot of work if I want to try and win next week.”
Wise and Watney finished tied for second on ten under, two shots back of Day who went 67-69-67-69 over the four days while Bryson DeChambeau finished fourth.
RUNNERS AND RIDERS
It was a disappointing Sunday for some of the bigger names in the field however.
Three-time Open Championship winner Woods – who shot a 68 on Saturday – faded on the final day to finish back in a tie for 55th while McIlroy could not follow up his magical penultimate-round 66 with anything more than a level-par 71 and had to settle for a tie for 16th.
Justin Thomas could have become the new world No.1 had he cracked the top 12 but he ended up back in 21st.
And England’s Casey – who ended up fifth – admits he is struggling with a hip injury in the lead-up to Florida.
“The game is in good working order, it’s just the body not letting me which is incredibly frustrating,” he said.
Having not played at the @WellsFargoGolf in six years, it really meant a lot to me to receive so much love and support from the fans all week. I won’t forget it, thanks again Charlotte.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 6, 2018
PAUL’S DUNNE IT FOR IRELAND
Meanwhile on the European Tour, Ireland's Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan won the second GolfSixes event at Centurion Club in St Albans.
Dunne – who shot to prominence as an amateur at the 2015 Open and is now the British Masters champion – helped Ireland down France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Romain Wattel in the final.
The England men's and women's teams of Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace, and Georgia Hall and Charley Hull both went out 2-0 at the quarter-final stage – the latter however did beat defending champions Denmark in a play-off on Saturday.