Jason Day Overcomes Alex Noren in Marathon Playoff at Torrey Pines
JASON DAY proved that class is permanent when he put a miserable 2017 season behind him and came through a gruelling playoff to defeat Alex Noren and land the Farmers Insurance Open.
The pair were level with Ryan Palmer after 72 holes and so it went to sudden death. Palmer was eliminated at the first extra hole and as darkness fell nothing could split Day and Noren after five holes, so they had to return today, and Day emerged triumphant when they came back and the Swede could only bogey the par-five 18th while Day picked up a birdie.
As the leaders made the turn in high winds on Sunday at the South Course at Torrey Pines, Day, Swede Noren and Americans Palmer and J.B. Holmes separated themselves from the chasing pack.
Day was playing ahead of the other three who were paired together in the final group. And the Aussie blinked first with a three-putt bogey on the 11th and then another bogey on the 15th, dropping him one behind. But the other three also struggled on the back nine.
Noren, Palmer and Holmes all made errors on the 14th hole, making bogey to restore a four-way tie. Palmer, seeking his first since January 2010, dropped another shot on the next hole, as did Holmes, who followed it with another.
Day and Noren couldn’t find another birdie in the closing three holes of regulation, but Palmer made a four on the par-five 18th to make it three players going extras.
Standing in the fairway waiting to hit his approach on the 72nd hole, Noren was forced to wait an age as Holmes contemplated his play.
Holmes, who lost a playoff to Day at the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open, needed an eagle to have any hope of playing on. After backing off numerous times, he decided to lay-up. And did so in the rough. A birdie left him one shy.
After the long wait, Noren sent his three wood through the green and under a grandstand. The resulting drop left him with a tough up-and-down to win and he failed to do so. He said the extra time made him change clubs. He was originally contemplating a hybrid that would not have gone over the green.
Palmer was knocked out in the first extra holes after failing to match birdies from Day and Noren. Noren nearly holed a wedge for eagle. Day slid in a 7-footer he knew he needed. Another trip down 18 left both men with eagle putts. Noren’s from a mile didn’t fall. Day couldn’t win it from 17-feet.
The Australian had chances from 11 and 27 feet on the next two playoff holes to ice it but missed by inches both times.
Clutch five-foot birdie putts both men on the fifth playoff hole in near darkness ensured they had to come back today.
Tiger Woods finished his comeback with a final round of 72 and a 72-hole total of three under par, seven behind the leaders. It was good enough for a tie for 23rd place and while there were some highly encouraging signs, he hit fewer than one in four fairways during the week - and that is something he is clearly going to have to address.
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