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Day escapes magical Dubuisson in Match Play final
Marana, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Victor Dubuisson makes a pair of remarkable par saves in extra holes Sunday, but it was Jason Day's routine up and down birdie on the 23rd hole that gave the Australian a 1-up victory at the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship.
Day never trailed in the final match, but Dubuisson showed plenty of mettle as he fought back from a 3-down deficit to force extra holes. Dubuisson made two extraordinary shots to keep the match going.
The Frenchman got up and down from a cholla bush on the 19th hole to extend the match. Dubuisson again was in the desert on the 20th hole. He blasted his ball from under a twig to six feet and he drained that putt to stay alive.
Finally on the drivable 15th at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, which played at the 23rd hole of the match, Dubuisson ran out of magic. He drove pin high, but his chip from thick rough ran 28 feet by the hole.
Day was in the first cut a few yards closer than Dubuisson and chipped to three feet. Dubuisson's birdie effort came up short and par was conceded. Day drained his short birdie putt for the win.
"Long day in the sun I guess. Obviously, I didn't want it to go this long, but Vic, man he's got a lot of guts and a great short game," Day said of Dubuisson. "Pars straight out of the cactus twice. You're going to see a lot of him for years to come.
"I think the biggest thing was how much did I want to win. I was visualizing myself with the trophy last night. I'm just glad I could finish it off, but it was a close one."
This was Day's second PGA Tour title, and first World Golf Championship victory.
The front nine of the final match was a battle in and of itself. Day won the first two holes, but Dubuisson won the next two. Day came back with wins at six and seven, then Dubuisson conceded the ninth after hitting his second into the desert.
Day was 3-up with nine to go. At the par-5 13th, Dubuisson got up and down for birdie to move within 2-down. They halved the next three holes.
Dubuisson's magical play started on the par-4 17th. He found sand off the tee, then stuffed his approach inside 15 feet. After Day missed from about 20 feet, Dubuisson drained his birdie putt to move within 1-down.
At the 18th, Day found the green which his approach, but was further away than Dubuisson, who was in a greenside bunker. After Day raced his birdie try eight feet by the hole, Dubuisson blasted from the sand to four feet.
Day left his par attempt short, but Dubuisson didn't. The Frenchman rolled in his 4-footer to force extra holes. And that's where he showed off a phenomenal short game.
Both players missed the green at the 19th with their approach shots. Dubuisson's ball was in a cholla bush. He took little time in blasting the shot to four feet. Day knocked his to six feet. Both players made their par putts and they headed to the ninth, which played as the 20th.
Day hit his second to about 20 feet. Dubuisson tugged his shot into the desert again. His ball stopped under a dead branch. Again wasting little time, Dubuisson smashed his chip to about six feet.
After watching that shot, Day laughed and shook his head in dismay. Day rolled his birdie putt to a foot and was conceded par. Dubuisson drained his par- saving putt to again extend the match.
"For a second there, I didn't think it was my time again. I honestly thought I had to keep fighting and fighting. The shots he hit on one and nine in extra holes were just unbelievable. The first one he just hacked at it and it came out pretty good and worked out great. The one nine, I think he played where he was supposed to."
Both players came up short of the green on the 21st hole, and both chipped just over 10 feet from the hole. After Dubuisson left his par putt short, Day ran his three feet by the cup, but made that to move the match to the 22nd hole.
The 14th was used as the 22nd. Day went first and spun his approach off the front of the green. He nearly holed the birdie chip, and was conceded par. Dubuisson left his 18-foot birdie try short as they halved the holes.
The 15th played as the 23rd hole. Both players were right of the green off the tee. Dubuisson, from a thick lie in the rough, blasted to 28 feet. Day eased his chip three feet by the hole. Dubuisson's magic ended there as he came up short, right of the cup with his birdie attempt.
Day did not miss. He drained the putt for the hard-fought title.
"I am disappointed. I made some terrific shots, but I missed some shots at the end in the playoff," Dubuisson said. "The chip on 14 and here (at 15), I hit where I wanted to, but they took a bad bounce."
Rickie Fowler needed 19 holes to earn a 1-up win over Ernie Els in the consolation match. Fowler was 2-up after five, but Els turned that around and was 2-up through 12. Fowler won three of five from the 13th, but Els birdied the last to force extra holes.
Fowler wrapped up the match with a 5-foot birdie putt at the 19th hole.
NOTES: Day collected $1.53 million for the win ... Dubuisson has earned enough money on the PGA Tour this year to earn unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the year ... The only other final match that went extra holes was the first final in 1999 ... The PGA Tour begin its Florida swing next week with The Honda Classic, where Michael Thompson is the defending champion ... The European Tour returns to action in South Africa with the Tshwane Open, where Dawie Van Der Walt is slated to defend his title.
02/23 21:40:17 ET