By Jay Betsill
In what is likely the last World Golf Championship Accenture Match Play Championship to be held at Dove Mountain, Jason Day outlasted Victor Dubuisson in a final that lasted 23 holes. It was the first time the championship match went overtime since the event’s inaugural year in 1999 at La Costa.
Day, with his first WGC title, won his second PGA Tour title that catapults the 2010 Byron Nelson champion to No. 4 in the world. While Day came away with the hardware and the $1.53 million first prize, the lasting images of the event will likely be of Dubuisson’s TWO up-and-downs out of cactus.
“Those two shots were amazing,” said Dubuisson, who rallied from 3-down after six holes against Ernie Els in the morning semifinals. “I just played it like I had nothing to lose.”
Day led 3-up going into the back nine and Dubuisson had to birdie No. 17 to continue the match. Dubuisson’s acrobatics in the extra holes — including hitting through TV cables, desert bushes, and cactus — earned him his share of golf fans all over the world.
“Vic, man, he has a lot of guts,” Day said. “He has a great short game — straight out of the cactus twice. For a 23-year-old kid, he’s got a lot of game. We’re going to see a lot of him for years to come.”
In the consolation match, Rickie Fowler defeated Els in 19 holes to capture third place.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has said there will be a decision about the future of this event made by April.
Next up on the PGA TOUR is the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens to kick off the Florida Swing. The stellar field includes Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Luke Donald, and Sergio Garcia.
— Rickie Fowler assured himself a spot in the WGC- Cadillac Championship at Doral with his third place finish at the Match Play. Prior to earning the $630,000 third place check at Dove Mountain, Fowler had missed three straight cuts on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods is the defending champion at the WGC-Cadillac Championship which will be held at the newly renovated TPC Blue Monster at Doral from March 6-9.
— Anna Nordqvist beat defending champion Inbee Park by two strokes to win the LPGA Thailand at the Siam County Club Pattaya Old Course. The victory ended a five-year victory drought for Nordqvist.
“It’s been a while, but I’m just so happy to finally break through again,” Nordqvist said.