Sunday, December 17, 2017
Golf

Jason Day wins Match Play title in wild playoff

MARANA, Ariz. — Jason Day never stopped believing he would win the Match Play Championship on Sunday, even in the midst of so many shots by Victor Dubuisson that defied belief.

With his ball at the base of a cactus, Dubuisson swung though the sharp needles and a TV cable and hit it to 4 feet to save par. On the next hole, the Frenchman somehow whacked a wedge through a desert bush and rocks and onto the green for another par.

"Those two shots were amazing," Dubuisson said. "I just played it like I had nothing to lose."

"I kept shaking my head because there was a couple of times there where I thought he was absolutely dead — the tournament was mine," Day said of Dubuisson's escapes.

Day finally ended it Sunday on the 23rd hole with a pitch to 4 feet on No. 15 for birdie. It was the first time the final went extra since the inaugural year in 1999 at La Costa, when Jeff Maggert won on the second playoff hole after a 36-hole final.

Two holes down with two to play, Dubuisson sank a 15-foot birdie on No. 17 then took advantage when Day bogeyed No. 18 with a three-putt from 50 feet. The Frenchman saved par from the bunker to force extra holes.

The match ended on the 333-yard 15th, when Dubuisson's drive strayed right, leaving him an awkward pitch with the ball above his feet.

"Vic, man, he has a lot of guts," Day said. "He has a great short game — straight out of the cactus twice. For a 23-year-old kid, he's got a lot of game."

Day, 26, the No. 8 overall seed, will rise to fourth in the rankings with his first World Golf Championship. Dubuisson, seeded 27th overall, was in his WGC debut.

In the semifinals earlier Sunday, Day beat Rickie Fowler 3-and-2 and Dubuisson rallied to beat Ernie Els 1 up after going 3 down through four holes.

LPGA: Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand to end a five-year drought, holding off No. 1-ranked defending champion Inbee Park by two shots in Chonburi. Nordqvist led wire-to-wire and closed with 4-under 68 for 15-under 273 total. "It was such a hard push on the back nine," Nordqvist said. "Couldn't really breathe until the last putt, so obviously I could just let go on the last putt." Park, last year's three-time major winner, shot bogey-free 66. Catriona Matthew (65) was third at 11 under and Michelle Wie (69) was 10 under. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (70—288) tied for 28th.

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