It is Jason's day again as he cruises to victory in Austin
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
JASON DAY won the WGC matchplay championship for the second time in three years, beating Louis Oosthuizen in the final in Austin, Texas, without breaking sweat. It is his sixth victory in 13 outings and his second in succession. As an added bonus, it takes him to the summit of the world rankings.
The Australian had beaten Rory McIlroy earlier in the day and, bursting with confidence, he broke Oosthuizen's heart and resistance with a stunning display of world-class golf. He required only 23 putts in beating McIlroy over 18 holes in the semi-final and single-putted six of the front nine against the South African as he reached the turn three up. This after losing the first hole - and he would have been two down had Oosthuizen not missed a short putt to win the second hole.
Oosthuizen didn't do a lot wrong, but he simply couldn't live with Day. The ninth hole was typical. Both players split the fairway. Oosthuizen found a greenside bunker and then splashed out inches from the hole - however, Day put his approach six feet from the hole and then drained the putt.
The 10th, 11th and 12th were halved but at the driveable par-four 13th Day hit a three wood through the green and then get up and down in two for a birdie that took him four up with five to play. At the 14th he put his approach three feet from the hole and when Oosthuizen failed to birdie the hole he conceded the putt and the match. Day won 5&4. It is worth remembering that Day nearly withdrew on the first day with a bad back.
The consolation match brought together two Europeans, Rory McIlroy and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, each with different things to prove. For McIlroy it was all about finding some consistency, while Cabrera- Bello was interested only in proving that he belonged in this company. Both men played pretty scrappily, but the Spaniard went in front for the first time when he holed a huge birdie putt at the 11th hole. McIlroy quickly got it back, but the Spaniard birdied the 14th to go one up again. He went two up at the next when the Northern Irishman missed a 30-inch putt, and won the match 3&2 with a birdie at the par-five 16th.
Oosthuizen cruised through to the final with a comfortable victory in the semi-finals, beating Cabrera-Bello, of Spain, 4&3. The Spaniard qualified for The Masters with his progress here, but he played horribly against the South Africa, throwing in a double-bogey and a couple of bogeys and failing to make a single birdie. But before the week began, he would have settled for reaching the final day. Not only has he climbed several places in the world rankings, but he has earned a bucketload of money that will count towards Ryder Cup points. And Cabrera-Bello is a player you would want in your team. He is fearless and generally never knows when he is beaten.
The organisers would have wanted the final to be between Day and McIlroy. Instead, the seedings dictated that the two most exciting golfers in the world had to meet in the semi-final. And it was nip and tuck all the way.
McIlroy will feel that he should have won it with something in hand but he made several mistakes on the front nine, and Day hurt him with a brilliant par putt at the 11th, followed by birdies at the 12th and 13th (at both holes, McIlroy fluffed chips) to go two up, but McIlroy came straight back at him with a birdie at the 14th. They shared the 15th and 16th holes and came to the par-three 17th with Day one up.
The Australian hit a poor shot and did well to save his par, leaving McIlroy a 16-feet putt to square the match. Desperate to hole the putt, he hit it too hard and it caught the hole and failed to drop. Off they went to the 18th, Day knowing that he only need to half the hole. Both players hit irons - McIlroy found a bunker, while Day carved his into the trees on the right and was incredibly lucky to find any kind of a lie. Neither man could find the green in two but when Day rammed home a 15-foot putt for a par the game was over and he was in the final.
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