Day claims PGA Championship title

European Tour

An emotional Jason Day claimed a three-shot victory at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits to claim his maiden major title on Sunday.

The Australian began the final round with a two-shot lead, and he never looked back as he fired a 67 to end on a record 20-under for the tournament, three clear of Jordan Spieth.

Branden Grace and Justin Rose were next best on 15-under, with Anirban Lahiri and Brooks Koepka a further two shots back.

Day had recorded nine top-10 finishes at majors prior to this week’s event at Whistling Straits, including a tie for ninth at this year’s U.S. Open and a tie for fourth at last month’s Open, but he had never been able to go all way – until now.

After beginning with a par at the first, a neat up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the par-five second saw Day register his first birdie for the round, before a run of three birdies in a row from the fifth to the seventh put further distance to the chasing pack.

An errant drive at the eighth resulted in Day’s first bogey of the day, and he took the turn in 33. A huge 380-yard drive at the 11th set up a birdie-four to move to 19-under. A bogey at the 15th was sandwiched in between two birdies as Day stood firm to complete a 67 and his first major win.

There were emotional scenes on the final green, with Day unable to hold back tears before he was joined by his wife Ellie, and son Dash to celebrate a hard-earned win.

Spieth remained in the running throughout without every being able to really reel Day in. Having seen the Australian birdie the second to extend his lead to three shots, Spieth reduced the deficit to two once more with a birdie at the par-three third hole after a pinpoint tee shot. However, a bogey at the fourth followed, and with Day notching up three birdies on the bounce, Spieth’s birdies at the fifth and sixth were only enough to keep him in touching distance.

A bogey at ninth saw Spieth drop four back, but birdies at the 10th, 13th and 16th ensured that the 22-year-old remained in prime position to capitalise on a late collapse from the leader. Unfortunately for Spieth, that never came.

There was some consolation for Spieth, who notched up a record 54-under for the year’s four majors, with the Texan set to surpass Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.

While Spieth was the man expected to challenge Day, it was Grace who looked the most likely to edge the Australian early on. Grace was in red-hot form on the front nine, holing four birdies in five holes from the third to take the turn in 32 and move into second. However, Grace’s charge came unstuck at the tenth, with a double bogey following a fluffed chip and he would eventually finish five strokes back.

Grace was joined on 15-under by Rose, with the Englishman posting a round of 70 in which he stumbled on the back nine. Have taking the turn in 34 thanks to two birdies, Rose moved into second with back-to-back birdies at the start of the closing nine, but a double bogey at the 13th stymied his charge.

Having recorded his best finish at a major at last month’s Open at St Andrews, a tie for 30th, Lahiri continued his impressive progression with a final round of 68 that took the Indian number one to 13-under, seven shots off the pace.

Joining Lahiri at 13-under was Koepka who will be ruining a first-round 73 that dealt his chances a blow early on. The American followed his one-over-par effort with rounds of 69, 67 and a closing 67 to enjoy a tie for fifth.

Dustin Johnson, the runner-up at the U.S Open, proved there is never a dull moment where he is concerned. The American began his final round with a quadruple-bogey eight at the first hole, before adding six birdies and two eagles to shot a 69 and end in a tie for seventh.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy, now the former world number one, had to be content with a final-round 69 that saw him finish on nine-under, eleven shots back.

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