MARANA, Ariz. – 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, 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. That was like watching paint dry compared to the show Dubuisson put on.
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.
“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. We’re going to see a lot of him for years to come.”
Even the great Seve Ballesteros would have saluted this performance.
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 like it would be over quickly.
From the first fairway, Dubuisson went so far long that bounced hard off the back of the green and into the desert, the ball nestled at the base of a cholla. During regulation, he would have taken a penalty drop. In this case, he felt he had no choice. 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.
It was reminiscent of the shot Bill Haas pulled off at East Lake from shallow water on the 17th hole. This was better.
And it came with an encore.
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.
Day could only laugh, though he had every reason to believe this was not his day.
Nordqvist wins LPGA Thailand: Anna Nordqvist of Sweden ended a five-year victory drought when she beat defending champion Inbee Park of South Korea by two strokes to win the LPGA Thailand at the Siam County Club Pattaya Old Course.
Nordqvist, who held the lead for the last three days, shot a final-round 68 for 15-under 273, to edge Inbee, who carded a final round 66 for an aggregate 13-under 275.
Catriona Matthew of Scotland shot a second straight 65 to finish third on 277. American Michelle Wie, who was tied second after three rounds, shot three birdies plus an eagle on the 10th against two bogeys for a final-round 69 and fourth place another shot back.
Rohanna on Symetra Tour: Waynesburg’s Rachel Rohanna finished tied for 27th at the Symetra Tour’s season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
Rohanna shot 1-under par 215 (71-71-73) and finished 11 shots behind winner Alena Sharp of Canada.