PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL—The Players Championship came to an end late Sunday afternoon at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, and the number one player in the world played up to his number one ranking.
Jason Day went wire-to-wire carding a 1-under 71 on Sunday for a total aggregate score of 273 putting him at 15-under for the tournament. The Players Championship holds the richest purse in golf earning Day $1.89 million for his efforts.
Day struggled a bit on Saturday, along with the rest of the field, when the greens went from soft, plush, and forgiving, to a surface similar to putting on glass. It seemed as though every approach shot rolled right off and most of the field was scrambling just to save bogey. For the conditions, Day posted a respectable 1-over 73, which kept him in the outright lead.
On Sunday, Day faced similar tribulations as he struggled on the front nine. He made an uncharacteristic bogey on No. 6, and had to make a 15-foot par putt on the next hole. He really looked out of character on the par-5 ninth when he sat just 40 feet to the right of the green with an approach shot to set him up for what would usually be an easy birdie for the number one golfer. Ergo, The Players Championship does not allow usual. Day muffed three straight chips and had to make a 6-foot putt just to escape with a bogey, his lead now dwindled to two shots.
“If I walk away with a double-bogey there, I let everyone [back] in the field,” Day said to ESPN. “I was right there next to the green in two and felt like an amateur chopping my way to the pin. That putt was probably the most crucial putt of this tournament for me.”
He responded like a true champion with two 15-foot birdies over the next three holes and regained his large lead that he would ride until his final putt on 18. Day finished with zero bogeys on the back nine for the tournament.
The win at TPC Sawgrass gave Day his seventh victory in 10 months, including last year’s PGA Championship and he now has 10 wins in his PGA career. Only Rory McIlroy has more victories among players in their 20s with 11.
“I want to be able to be looked back on and know that ‘He was one of the greats in the game.’ If I have the opportunity to do that, I’m going to try my best,” Day said after his dominating victory. “And I have the opportunity to do that right now, try and work as hard as I can to really leave my footprint in this game. I’m very motivated to win as much as I can right now.”
Day has certainly left his footprint thus far, and will try to remain red hot leading into the U.S. Open in June.