Week 04: Day jumps back into the World’s top 10
January 29, 2018
PGA Tour - Farmers Insurance
Jason Day made birdie on the first hole played Monday morning to win his first title since the 2016 PLAYERS Championship. The playoff between Day and Alex Noren extended to an extra day after they tied five extra holes Sunday.
It was Day’s 11th PGA TOUR victory. He moved to ninth in this season's FedExCup standings.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Day said. “I know last year wasn’t the best year for me. …I worked hard in the offseason to get back in this position.”
It was Day’s fourth consecutive birdie on Torrey Pines’ par-5 finishing hole in the playoff.
Noren hit first from the fairway Monday, knocking his second shot into the water. Day laid up from the right rough, then hit his wedge shot 1 foot from the hole. Noren made bogey before Day attempted his birdie putt.
On Sunday, Day and Noren birdied the par-5 18th all three times they played it – on the first second and fifth playoff holes – and made par on the par-3 16th and par-4 17th holes.
Ryan Palmer exited the playoff on the first extra hole after making par on the par-5 18th. The trio finished regulation tied at 10-under 278. Noren, the 54-hole leader, shot a final-round 73, while Day shot 70. Palmer shot 72 on Sunday.
European Tour - Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Li Haotong produced a late burst of scoring to hold off the challenge of Rory McIlroy and win his second European Tour title after a thrilling final-day battle at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Chinese entered the final day a shot clear of McIlroy but trailed by two after ten holes as the four-time Major winner looked on track for a third victory at Emirates Golf Club.
Li then birdied four of his last six holes to sign for a closing 69 and get to a record low event total of 23 under par, beating the Northern Irishman by a single stroke.
His stunning finish under incredible pressure further cemented his reputation as one of the European Tour's great clutch performers, following on from a closing 63 at last season's Open Championship and a fourth-round 64 to win on home soil at the 2016 Volvo China Open.
"Especially the first few holes, I was quite nervous," said Li. "The first hole I made bogey and got to come back really quick, which was good.
"I think most of the time, only two or one behind, so I just want to keep pulling myself in a position and just don't go too far away.
"The last four holes was some of the best shots in my life so far. Happy to see I can hold a trophy here.
"I'm looking forward to my first Masters."
The win moves him alongside countryman Ashun Wu as China's most prominent winners on the European Tour and he becomes the first Chinese player to break into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour – Leopalace21 Myanmar Open
Paul Peterson of the United States secured his maiden Asian Tour title when he outclassed the field with a two-shot victory at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open on Sunday.
Despite dropping two bogeys in his closing four holes, Peterson ensured victory would belong to him by closing with a birdie on 18 to sign off with a five-under-par 66.
The 29-year-old started his final day two shots off the lead, but stormed out quickly with two birdies and an eagle in his opening five holes. Peterson’s lead was briefly threatened when he dropped two shots on 15 and 17 but the American maintained his composure by sinking a crucial birdie at the last hole for his Asian Tour breakthrough.
Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira set the course record at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club with a stunning 63. However his final day heroics were not enough to overtake Peterson, leaving him to settle for a share of second place with compatriot Tomoyo Ikemura with his four-day total of 11-under-par 273 at the US$750,000 event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
American Berry Henson continued his amazing return from injury by carding a 64 to finish in fourth place while Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan, who led for the first two rounds, closed with a 69 to share fifth place with 2016 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open champion Shaun Norris of South Africa and Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato.
Web.com Tour - The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club
Canadian Adam Svensson picked up his first Web.com Tour win at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club in his 58th career start. The 24-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia carded a final-round, 4-under-par 68. His 17-under-par 271 total was good for a one-stroke victory over rookie phenom Sungjae Im, who missed a 10-footer on the 72nd hole to force overtime.
“It's a relief,” said Svensson, who couldn’t see Im’s birdie bid at the last. “Your heart is racing and when it's over it slows down, and you realize what you've done. I'm just so thrilled I got the win and just so happy.”
What a difference a year makes. Svensson missed the cut at both Bahamas events to start the 2017 season and found himself behind the 8-ball all year. He ultimately made it to the Web.com Tour Finals but finished one spot out of securing his PGA TOUR card.
The former Barry University standout thought about it all offseason but used it as motivation this year.
“It stings a little less,” said Svensson, about the disappointment of not getting his TOUR card last year. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do going forward, but it's nice.”
After a tie for 13th in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and a win in Abaco, Svensson has moved to No. 2 on the Tour money list, firmly inside the top 25.
“Obviously you want to get into the No. 1 spot, which is very difficult,” said Svensson, who collected a $108,000 first-place prize. “You want to try and get inside the top five or as high as you can.”
Asian Development Tour – PGM Darulaman Championship
American Kurt Kitayama completed a stunning wire-to-wire victory at the PGM Darulaman Championship to win his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title on Saturday.
The 25-year-old rookie closed with a two-under-par 70 to defeat a relentless John Catlin, who settled for second place at the RM225,000 (approximately US$55,000) ADT event.
It was a dramatic final day where Kitayama’s five-shot lead was erased by a battling Catlin, who fired three birdies and a 10-foot eagle putt on the 10th hole to draw level with his countryman.
Kitayama, who finished tied-3rd in Qualifying School in January, responded with clutch birdie putts on holes 16 and 18 to secure his first title in Asia with a winning total of 21-under-par 26.
After playing two years on the Web.com Tour, Kitayama was delighted to taste success in Asia. He pocketed US$10,096.15 for his victory.
“I’ve been excited for the schedule I’m hoping to get some sponsor invites after this if not I’ll just have a break after this to go home and just relax. I am hoping to get one of the earlier starts like New Zealand or Perth if not then I think I’ll take a good break,” added Kitayama.
ProGolf Tour - Red Sea Ain Sokhna Classic
With a birdie-putt on hole 18 German Jeremy Paul secured himself his first professional win at the Red Sea Ain Sokhna Classic. After rounds of 65, 70 and 68, total 13 under par. the 23-year-old scored one stroke better than Raffaele Benatti from Italy (65, 72, 67) and Scotsman Craig Howie (67, 69, 68).