Australian Jason Day claimed his first win on the PGA Tour in more than five years on Sunday, taking the Byron Nelson Championship by nine-under-62 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
The 35-year-old has not won since the Wells Fargo tournament in May 2018, but his birdie into the hole in the par-5 finish put him to one-stroke wins over South Korean Kim Se-woo and American Austin Ecroat.
Day’s first ever victory on the PGA Tour came at the same tournament 13 years ago, albeit in a different venue in suburban Dallas.
“It’s been a struggling few years, five years since our last win. The way I played today was really special. I’m very happy and happy with the way things have turned out over the last two years. 1835 days to be exact,” he said.
Day said battling a back injury has hampered his form but his determination has helped him get back to his best.
“Just nonstop honing and a constant desire to get better and try to get better. A lot of injuries to my back… just trying to get through those three years, just trying to get through the championship was tough,” he said.
“So, to be on the other side of that, to be healthy… really win again. It’s very nice to be on the other side,” he said.
Day found his momentum with three straight bridges from the third hole on and the highlight of his round was a 37-foot swing for birdie on the par 4 12.
With Kim taking a share of the lead, one hole in front of him, with a birdie on the 18th, Day knew parity would suffice only in a playoff with the Korean.
The Australian rose to the challenge with a brilliant 80-yard putt on the final hole and landed two feet from the hole for a simple birdie and the win.
Eakroat, in the final set, was left needing an eagle to force Day into a playoff, but his approach went past the back of the green and he had to settle for birdie and a round of 65.
“Everything was solid, and I really felt like I played well enough to win. It’s hard to beat a player who goes out and shoots 9-minus,” said the 24-year-old.
After a disappointing third innings, Scotty Scheffler threatened world number two, reaching the innings with four birdies, but was forced to take a wicket in the fifth after missing a simple birdie putt in the last.
Scheffler will now turn his thoughts to the PGA Championship in Oak Hill next week.
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