Jason Day wins battle for WGC-Match Play title

Last updated 13:47 24/02/2014
Jason Day
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BIG WIN: Jason Day celebrates in Arizona.

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Australia's Jason Day has claimed the biggest victory of his golf career, winning the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship.

The 26-year-old Queenslander overcame a brilliant fightback from gritty Frenchman Victor Dubuisson to triumph with a birdie at the 23rd hole of a thrilling final at the Dove Mountain course in Arizona today (NZT).

Day's victory in the elite WGC series event earns him $US1.53 million in prize money and a three-year exemption on the US PGA Tour.

It is also expected to catapult him from No 11 to No 4 in the world rankings, behind only No 1 Tiger Woods, No 2 Adam Scott and No 3 Henrik Stenson.

"I think the biggest thing (I was thinking) was, just how much do I want it, how much I want to win?" Day said.

"I kept visualising myself with the trophy last night. I've never wanted something so bad in my life."

Day was three up through 12 holes but world No.30 Dubuisson rallied to send the match to extra holes and then made two stunning recovery shots from rocky, desert lies on the 19th and 20th holes before finally succumbing on the 23rd when Day holed his four-foot birdie putt.

Day's only previous win on the US PGA Tour was in the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship.

And he's endured a frustrating run of near-misses in big tournaments, including runner-up results in three major championships - the 2011 Masters, 2011 US Open and 2013 US Open.

"I am just glad I could finish this off but it was a close one," Day said.

"The best thing about this (match play event) was every day felt like a Sunday and you got the chance to deal with your nerves.

"I had to dig down deep and keep fighting and I'm thrilled to pull it off."

Day earlier eliminated American Ricky Fowler 3-up in their semi-final while Dubuisson beat Ernie Els in the other semi-final.

In the final, Day missed putts on the 17th, 18th and 21st holes that would have clinched the title earlier.

He missed a 20-footer on 17 and watched Dubuisson make from 13-feet to extend the match after a brilliant long approach from a bunker.

The Australian then three-putted the 18th green, missing the last putt from nine feet by leaving it short.

Dubuisson then played a magic shot from under a cactus on the first extra hole and did it again from the desert on the next to set up the most improbable pars to stay alive before his stock of miracle recoveries finally ran out three holes later.

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