Jason Day returned to world number one after beating Louis Oosthuizen 5&4 in the final of the WGC-Dell Match Play on Sunday at Austin Country Club.
The Australian overcame an early deficit and then birdied the fourth, seventh, and ninth to go 3up at the turn, heaping pressure on his opponent.
Oosthuizen battled to reply and made par at the 10th and 11th. At the par-five 12th he had a chance to catch up after Day hit his approach right, but the South African found water left (it was wet by a metre) and had to settle for a half after making par.
It was all Day from there as the 28-year-old birdied the 13th to go 4up and then the 15th to win 5&4, marking back to back victories after his triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week.
‘I’ve really enjoyed this golf course and I’ve been able to utilise the great short game I’ve had, but also make tough matches and hit the clutch shots. It’s been fantastic,’ he said.
‘It’s been a very memorable week, not only to win, but also to return to world number one.’
Day began the tournament in a group bracket with Thongchai Jaidee, Graeme McDowell, and Paul Casey, all of whom he beat to progress with a clean slate.
‘You’re playing against seven guys, not against a full field. But it’s against the guy across the tee from you, so you have to know when you can go for it. It’s all in momentum and that can switch quickly,’ said the new favourite for The Masters.
On Saturday morning he took a convincing 3&2 victory over Brandt Snedeker to make the quarter finals, where he once again won 3&2, this time against the big-hitting Brooks Koepka.
On Sunday morning he would face off against Rory McIlroy in the semi-final, which was an important match for Day. He claimed a crucial hole with a birdie at the 14th and the match went all the way to the last hole before he won 1up.
Sunday afternoon was a solid display from the nine-time PGA Tour winner, who made ample birdies to claim his 5&4 victory over Oosthuizen.
‘It’s never easy winning and I can’t get complacent with how I’m playing,’ said Day. ‘It may look good or ugly, but I need to focus on the little things that make me great and go into Augusta with the same prep that I normally have.’