Dominant Day wins Match Play, hits stride for Masters

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 27, 2016 2:11 PM

(Reuters) - Jason Day continued his sensational streak with an emphatic victory at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas on Sunday and the new world number one could not be happier with his game heading into next month's Masters.

The Australian beat South African Louis Oosthuizen 5&4 in the afternoon final at Austin Country Club to clinch his sixth win in his last 13 tournaments worldwide.

Day, who sank a 12-foot par putt at the final hole to beat defending champion Rory McIlroy one-up in a morning semi-final, was already assured of regaining the world number one ranking from American Jordan Spieth.

"It's been an amazing week. I played wonderfully this afternoon," Day, 28, said at the victory presentation, adding that he had only been a "50-50" chance to continue in the event after tweaking his back during the opening day of competition.

"I’ve been able to not only utilize the great short game that I’ve had from last week to this week, but to be able to play the way I did from tee to green and then on top of it hit the clutch shots has been really fantastic."

Oosthuizen, the 16th seed, qualified for the final when he beat Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello 4&3 in the other semi.

Day lost the first hole of the final, but that was his only setback as he relentlessly kept up the pressure on Oosthuizen and turned the back nine into a victory march.

Day's ninth career PGA Tour victory was his second in as many weeks after he triumphed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last Sunday.

It was also Day's second win in three years in the only World Golf Championships event that uses the match play format.

He also made it four wins in five weeks for Australian players on the PGA Tour, after Adam Scott won twice in Florida at the Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Day's hot streak stretches back to last July.

After missing out on a playoff spot at the British Open by one stroke at St. Andrews, Day won the Canadian Open the following week before picking up his first major victory at the PGA Championship in August.

He will now have a week off to recharge before the first major of the year, the Masters, where he will be the man to beat.

"It’s never easy winning," he said. "I can’t get too complacent with how I’m playing. I need to focus on the little things that make me great and go into Augusta and prep the exact same way I have in the past."

Runner-up Oosthuizen tipped his hat to the champion.

"I couldn’t buy a birdie. Up against a guy like Jason, you need to go out three-to-four-under to have a chance," said the 2012 Masters runner-up.

"Game is shaping up really nice for Augusta. That’s everyone’s focus right now."

In the match for third place, Cabrera-Bello beat McIlroy 3&2.

Cabrera-Bello's strong week elevated him into the top 50 in the world and earned him a spot at the Masters.

McIlroy struggled in the consolation match, frustrated after losing his semi-final against Day.

"Today I just didn’t hole the putts I needed to and Jason wasn’t giving me anything either," said the Northern Irishman.

"I think that just shows how well Jason is playing at the minute."

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Alan Baldwin/Peter Rutherford)