Jason Day never stopped believing he would win the Match Play Championship, even in the midst of so many shots by Victor Dubuisson that simply defied belief.
With his ball at the base of a cactus in Marana, Ariz., Dubuisson took an all-or-nothing swing though the sharp needles and a TV cable and incredibly hit it to 4 feet to save par. Seemingly out of it on the next playoff hole, the 23-year-old Frenchman somehow whacked a wedge through a desert bush and rocks and onto the green for another par.
Day finally ended the madness Sunday on the 23rd hole with a pitch to 4 feet on No. 15 for birdie.
It was the first time the championship match went overtime since the inaugural year in 1999 at La Costa, when Jeff Maggert chipped on the second extra hole of a 36-hole final.
Day, with his first World Golf Championship, walked away with his second PGA Tour title that will take the Australian to No. 4 in the world.
This tournament might better be remembered for Dubuisson’s magical escapes.
Two holes down with two holes to play, Dubuisson rapped in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and then took advantage of a rare lapse by Day, who bogeyed the 18th hole with a three-putt from 50 feet on the upper tier. The Frenchman saved par from the bunker to force extra holes.
It looked as if it would be over quickly.
From the first fairway, Dubuisson went so far long that his ball bounced hard off the back of the green and into the desert, the ball nestled at the base of a cholla. He stepped up to the ball and, with nothing to lose, swung away. The club got caught on a TV cable, and the ball scooted up the slope of 3-inch grass and onto the green.
On the next extra hole, the par-5 ninth, Dubuisson tugged his shot left of the green, left of the bleachers and into a desert bush surrounded by rocks. He took another crack at it, and the shot came out perfectly through thick grass and onto the green.
After matching bogeys and pars on the next two holes the match ended on the 333-yard 15th hole when Dubuisson’s drive strayed too far right into side of a hill.
In the morning semifinals, Day beat Rickie Fowler 3 and 2, and Dubuisson topped Ernie Els 1 up. Fowler beat Els in 19 holes in the third-place match.
Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Thailand to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park at Siam County Club in Chonburi, Thailand.
Nordqvist, the LPGA Championship and LPGA Tour Championship winner in 2009, led wire-to-wire. The 26-year-old Swede closed with a 4-under 68 to beat defending champion Park by two strokes.
Nordqvist finished at 15-under 273 on the Pattaya Old Course. Park, making her first start of the year, had a bogey-free 66. The South Korean player won six times last year.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew was third at 11 under after a 65.
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