Jason has a Day to remember at Whistling Straits
AND so, finally, after all the near misses, after all the heartache, it turned out to be Jason's day. A vertigo attack cost him the US Open and then he came up one shot shy at The Open but here, at Whistling Straits, it all came right and Jason Day won the US PGA Championship, his first major victory. And there will be more.
Had he been an American he could not have expected a warmer reception than the one he received on the banks of Lake Michigan as he became the first Australian to win this title since Steve Elkington 20 years ago. And he did it in style. Did he ever do it in style. He began the day with a two-shot lead and finished with a 67, a 20-under-par total of 268 and a three-shot victory over Jordan Spieth. The tears of joy began to fall before he had even holed his final putt. No golfer has ever deserved a major more than Day - and now he has one.
Check out the best shots from the final round of the USPGA Championship
The quality of golf we witnessed during the final major of 2015 was breathtaking, from start to finish. Justin Rose hit one glorious iron shot after another as he finished fourth. Branden Grace confirmed his status among the world's elite in finishing third. Spieth came so close to winning his third major of the season but has the consolation of replacing Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.
Even Dustin Johnson may have at last proved to himself that he really can win a major - he began his final round with a shattering quadruple-bogey eight and we all expected him to fold. Instead, he came roaring back with one birdie after another. There were also two eagle threes on the back nine for good measure. He still finished off the pace, but he proved that he does possess some real fighting spirit. He finished with a 69 - with an EIGHT on his card. His time will surely come.
McIlroy proved to us all that he has fully recovered from his ankle injury and although he finished outside the top 10, he served notice that he is back.
But the final round was all about Day. He opened his account at the second and was rock steady all afternoon, taking no risks, but producing some incredible power when required. He reached the 580-yard par-five 11th with a drive and a wedge, for goodness sake, and two-putted to move to 19 under par, which tied the tournament record. He was in cruise control.
Jason Day shares his thoughts on his USPGA Championship victory
When Rose stood on the 13th tee he was 16 under par, in second place three shots behind Day. A wayward drive led to a double bogey six and, effectively, his challenge was over. It was left to Spieth and Branden Grace, at 15 under, to see if they could catch Day.
Spieth peppered the pins. All year he has been holing putts from all over the place but this time, when he really needed them to drop, they refused to do so. He could only watch as Day, his playing partner, showed him how to do it.
When Spieth finally holed a crucial birdie putt at the 13th it took him to 53 under par in this season's majors - the only other man ever to do so is Tiger Woods. However, at 16 under, he was still two adrift. At that point, 19 of the players in the top 20 were under par for the day - one of them was Anirban Lahiri, of India, who proved beyond question that he belongs at this level with a 13-under-par total. And all credit to George Coetzee, of South Africa, whose round of 67 saw him end the week on 12 under.
Spieth made a huge mistake at the 14th. Having split the fairway, his second shot with a wedge missed the green on the left, leaving him with an impossible up and down. - except that he did get it up and down. Seconds later, Day birdied the hole, moved to 20 under and led by four. Game, set and match.
Or was it? Day dropped a shot at the next and the gap was down to three with a par five, tough par three and monstrous par four to go. Both players birdied the 16th and, in the process, Spieth took his cumulative total in the majors this year to 54 under. Just incredible.
They both parred the 17th, so Day came to the final hole with a three-shot cushion. He could enjoy his walk down the 18th fairway. And he did.
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