Jason Day romps to playoff win at Barclays

Doug Ferguson / Associated Press

EDISON, NJ – Jason Day powered and putted his way to another blowout against a world-class field Sunday at The Barclays.

Fresh off his first major at the PGA Championship, Day pulled away early and poured it on with three long birdie putts on the back nine at Plainfield. A birdie on the closing hole gave him an 8-under 62 for a six-shot victory over Henrik Stenson.

Day closed with a 63-62 weekend and finished at 19-under 261. He won two weeks ago by three shots over Jordan Spieth with a record to par at 20-under 268.

The victory moves the 27-year-old Australian to the top of the FedEx Cup after the opening playoff event, assuring that Day will be among the top five who have a clear shot at the $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship.

More compelling is another race for No. 1.

With his second straight victory, and fourth of the year, Day remains at No. 3 in the world but now enters the picture with Spieth and Rory McIlroy for golf supremacy. All three will have a mathematical chance to get to No. 1 at the Deutsche Bank Championship next week at the TPC Boston.

“It’s been a special summer for me, and it’s not over,” Day said. “To be able to play the way I did over the weekend is fantastic. Today was just phenomenal golf.”

Stenson gave it a good shot.

He made birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to get within two shots, and Day hit a tee shot well to the right in the trees in the group behind on No. 13. There was just enough of an opening for Day to pound a gap wedge over the trees and onto the green, and then he effectively ended the tournament.

He holed a 30-foot birdie across the green on the par-3 14th, and rolled in a birdie from 35 feet on the 15th to stretch his lead to five shots.

Day is tied for Spieth with four wins on the PGA Tour this year, though two of those for Spieth were the Masters and U.S. Open.

Bae Sang-moon, tied with Day going into the final round, fell behind with a bogey on No. 3 and was in reverse for much of the day. He closed with a 72 and tied for sixth. Ryan Palmer, playing a week after his 71-year-old father died in a traffic accident in west Texas, closed with a 70 and tied for sixth. Palmer choked back tears when he finished.

Bubba Watson made two late birdies for a 69 to finish alone in third, though this was a two-man race over the final back nine.

It wasn’t the only contest, though.

The top 100 in the FedEx Cup advance to the next playoff event at the TPC Boston. PGA Tour rookie Zac Blair was among eight players who played their way into the top 100, and he did it in a big way. He closed with a 66 and tied for fourth, moving him from No. 106 to No. 35.

Camilo Villegas at No. 123 appeared to be playing his way out of another week when he made three straight bogeys early on the back nine. Facing elimination if he failed to make par on the 18th, he got up-and-down by making a par putt from just inside 10 feet.

“As bad as I putted today, I think I made the hardest putt today,” Villegas said.

The Barclays did not end well for Stewart Cink and Nick Taylor. Cink needed a par on the final hole to advance, pulled his tee shot left into high grass and missed a 15-foot par putt for a 72. He finished at No. 102 in the FedEx Cup. Taylor, the Canadian rookie who won early in the season last November, took a double bogey on the 14th hole and then missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole to move on to Boston.

Jason Kokrak, who missed the cut, finished one point ahead of Taylor as the last man to advance.

Day has no such worries. He is in free flight, even though his week began with some doubt. He was moving a box from under his motor home when he felt a twinge in his back, and Day pulled out of the pro-am to rest his back and have tests to check on the structural being of his back.

He still felt some pain on Thursday, but the heat helped over the weekend. And nothing was hotter than his putter. He began the back nine with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to keep his margin, and it never looked as though anyone else was going to win.

Day went six years with only one PGA Tour, and now they are starting to pile up. He was thrilled when he won the RBC Canadian Open because it was his first multiple-win season on tour. Now he has four victories, and has never looked tougher to beat.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., shot a final-round 2-under 68 to reach even-par for the tournament. Abbotsford, B.C., native Nick Taylor finished 2-over for a share of 53rd place.

Fairways Magazine

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