Day completes wire-to-wire win

Jason Day carded a one-under-par 71 to record a wire-to-wire win at the Players Championship on Sunday. 

Day, who ended the tournament on 15-under, finished four strokes ahead of his closest competitor, Kevin Chappell.

Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Colt Knost and Ken Duke were in a tie for third on 10-under, while Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama was six strokes adrift of the lead in a tie for seventh. World number three Rory McIlroy finished in a tie for 12th on seven-under. 

Day, who became the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win wire-to-wire in two tournaments in one season, struggled on the front nine as he missed an eight-foot par putt at the sixth to record a bogey. He then got in trouble in the right rough at the ninth to record his second bogey of the round. 

Despite the world number one’s slow start to the round, he bounced back on the back nine, starting with a 17-foot birdie putt at the 10th before sinking a 16-foot birdie putt at the 12th. A birdie at the 16th was the icing on the cake as the Australian won the unofficial ‘fifth major’ and pocketed US$1.89 million. He also became the first wire-to-wire winner at TPC Sawgrass in 16 years.

Day has now won three tournaments in 2016, have also bagged the silverware at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he led for all four rounds, and the WGC-Dell Match Play. 

Chappell rose up four spots on the leaderboard after firing a tournament-best 69, which began with a turbulent front nine that consisted of two birdies and three bogeys. The American turned his fortunes around on the back nine as he made a chip-in eagle from 36 yards at the par-five 11th before making consecutive birdies at the 16th and 17th. 

Meanwhile, McIlroy rounded off his tournament with a two-under-par 70, which saw him make a pair of birdies on the front nine. The Ulsterman failed to maintain his momentum heading into the back nine though as two further birdies were cancelled out by two bogeys.