Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
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Irish Golf Desk.
As Rory McIlroy closed with a spectacular 65 to prove his game is not far away as Augusta National approaches, Day brilliantly birdied the 17th to take the lead and then got up and down from sand at the last, holing a clutch four footer for a 70 and a one shot win over Kevin Chappell on 17 under par.
"This is a really rewarding win for me," Day said. "To be able to get in the house and make the par on the last was very satisfying."
It was the eighth PGA Tour win of Day's career, the fifth in his last 12 starts and his third since he captured the US PGA at Whistling Straits last year. It also ended all doubts about his form.
"It does a lot of confidence for me knowing that everyone was asking what's wrong, what's going on, why aren't you playing well? I just kept on saying to myself, kept on saying to the people, the fans, the media, just be patient, I'm just going through the process and I'm going to keep working hard. Things take time. It happened this week. I'm just happy that I won."
Two ahead of Chappell, Henrik Stenson and Troy Merritt starting the day, he made three birdies and two bogeys in his first six holes before a tap in birdie after a towering approach to the ninth gave him a share of the lead heading into the back nine.
Merritt birdied the first five holes coming home to get within one of Day, Chappell and Stenson with four to play. But playing alongside Day and convinced he needed a birdie, he ended up finding water and taking six at the last for a 71 to finish fourth on 14 under alongside the Swede, who bogeyed the 14th and 16th for a 71.
Seeking his maiden win, Chappell had birdied the 13th and 16th to lead by one from Day and Merritt on 17 under. But he drove into the right rough at the 18th and bogeyed for a 69 that left him to settle for solo second on 16 under.
Day was far from his best but he hit a towering, 222-yard tee shot to 12 feet at the par-three 17th and poured in the putt to snatch the lead and then got up and down from the left green side trap at the last to take victory.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.