Jason Day Prevails At Torrey Pines


Just when you thought you’d have to wait till June for the U.S. Open, one broke out at the Farmers Insurance Open. The rough was gnarly, the greens were fast and overall Torrey Pines was viscous. For Jason Day it wasn’t easy and it was a little lucky, but he got it done. The year’s most exciting tournament to date was capped off by a winner who could be poised for bigger things to come.

Today began with J.B. Holmes and Harris English leading, but the contenders were all in striking distance. A course that was only getting tougher by the day was going to chew up and spit out a winner. There would be no birdie barrages or red numbers on the leaderboard. The South Course must of thought it was 2008 all over again because it was showing no mercy. On Sunday of the seventy-four players in the field just six managed to shoot in the 60s and twenty-two shot 76 or higher.

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One of the players to “go low” was the defending champion Scott Stallings, whose final round 69 was good enough for a -9 score and he walked off the course tied for the lead. Day was at -9 playing the 18th when his 2nd shot soared over the green leaving him with a difficult chip. Hit it too short you’re looking at a near impossible putt. Too hard and not only will the ball not hold the green it could end up in the water. He blasted the chip but almost inexpiably the ball stopped just short of the water.

"“When you win golf tournaments, you have to have a little bit of luck,” Day said. “And that was my luck.”"

After the gift from the golf gods Day would get up and down for par and joined Stallings in the clubhouse at -9. Holmes (-9) and English (-8) were still on the course with a chance to join the playoff or win the whole thing out right. Holmes missed a great look at birdie on 17 and headed to the 18th where things got interesting. After hitting the fairway with his tee shot, one of the tour’s longest players decided to lay-up from just 235 yards away.

"“It was a lie that my tendency is to hit it a little bit further and hit a draw, and long and left is dead,” Holmes said. “If you hit something over the green there, it’s not really an easy up-and-down. It’s not really the best access to the pin. The best play is to lay-up and hit a wedge. If I had the same thing again, I would lay up.”"

Holmes would go on to par the hole clinching a playoff with Stallings, Day and English after his birdie on the eighteenth. The attention was squarely on Holmes. Yes he knows his game better than we do, but for one of, if not the game’s longest player to lay-up on 18 like he did is still puzzling.

Heading into the playoff Day had three pars over the week on the 18th. With a perfect drive and fantastic chip shot, he tapped in his first birdie of the week on the hole. Stallings and English were eliminated with pars, even though English almost dropped a 60-foot bomb for birdie. J.B. Holmes who couldn’t make birdie in regulation for the win, did so this time to force a second playoff hole. On the par three 16th Day striped a 5-iron to 15 feet and Holmes bombed a 6-iron over the green. Holmes would bogey the hole and Day would two putt for a par and his third PGA Tour victory.

"“It’s an amazing feeling,” Day said. “I’ve been working so hard for this. I was visualizing myself holding the trophy, just like I did at the Match Play. I’m really proud of myself to hang in there and grind it out.”"

Grind it out is what Day is known for. The Aussie has been right in the thick of things in majors over the past few years. So when a U.S. Open all of a sudden breaks out in February, it’s no surprise he’s right in the middle of it. If you were going to win on Torrey Pines this weekend you were going to earn it and maybe get a little lucky a long the way, and he certainly did that.

This has the chance to be a big year for the twenty-seven year old. After winning the Match Play last year an injured thumb slowed things down for him. Now he’s healthy and his game is in pretty good shape too. He was one shot out of a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. This week Day not only found his way into the playoff, he left with the trophy. The way things are shaping up this may not be his only one of the year.

Quotes from PGATour.com

Next: J.B. Holmes Plays It Safe