Jason Day wins WGC-Dell Match Play

The Australian beat South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen by 5&4 in the final

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Jason Day wins WGC-Dell Match Play
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Jason Day beat Louis Oosthuizen in the final of the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club in Texas. The Australian is the new World Number 1.

Jason Day won the WGC-Dell Match Play with a comfortable 5&4 final victory over Louis Oosthuizen. It was a second victory for the new World Number 1 in the tournament, he triumphed two years ago at Dove Mountain in Arizona.

Day overcame Rory McIlroy by one hole in an excellent semi final before going on to defeat Oosthuizen, who had seen off Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain in his semi final.

Oosthuizen took an early advantage when Day dropped a shot at the first hole but that was a false dawn for the 2010 Open champion. He found trouble on the third and incurred a penalty shot, meaning Day was back on terms. The Australian moved ahead with a birdie on the fourth.

By the turn Day was three up and he continued to play strongly on the back nine. Great iron shots on the 13th and 14th set up two further birdies and those sealed the victory for the 28-year-old.

“It feels great to do this,” said Day. “I’ve been working very hard on the short game and on the greens I just felt like I could hole anything.”

4 Talking points from The WGC-Dell Match Play

1 – Jason Day returned to Number 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking by reaching the semi finals at Austin Country Club, and he justified his new standing by closing out a memorable victory. Despite suffering a bad back earlier in the week, he played supremely solid golf throughout the week.

It’s a second win in as many weeks for the Australian, who also captured last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. He will now have a week off before the Masters and he will likely go into that event as favourite.

“It’s been good momentum for me confidence-wise,” he said. “It would be good to win at Augusta, but I’ve got to make sure I get in and do the little things that count towards the big picture, getting my prep in for that week.”

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2 – Another man who will take a good deal of confidence to Augusta will be Louis Oosthuizen. Although overwhelmed in the final, the South African played some fine golf through the week – including a victory over Jordan Spieth. Oosthuizen is scheduled to play next week’s Shell Houston Open.

“The game is good for Augusta. Augusta is on everyone's minds right now,” Oosthuizen said. “And it's shaping up very nicely. So if I can have a nice solid week in Houston, it's exactly where I want my game before Augusta.”

3 – Rafa Cabrera-Bello was delighted to beat Rory McIlroy in the playoff for third place. “It’s something I will tell my kids whenever I have them,” he said. “Although I don’t know they will believe me.” The performance has pushed the Spaniard into the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking and has secured him a start at the U.S. Masters. “It’s going to be very special,” he said.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello swing sequence:

4 – Rory McIlroy pushed Jason Day all the way in a thrilling semi final that came down to the 18th green. Day got to two-up but McIlroy pegged him back to one with a birdie at the 14th. But Day held on to that advantage tenaciously with some exceptional putting. On the last green the Australian holed a long par putt to deny McIlroy the chance to take the game to extra holes.

WGC-Dell Match Play Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas Mar 23-27 Purse €8,500,000

1    Jason Day (Aus)            €1,428,155 2    Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)        €897,446 3    Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp)    €581,841 4    Rory McIlroy (NIR)        €467,236 T5    Dustin Johnson (USA)        €255,658 T5    Chris Kirk (USA)            €255,658 T5    Brooks Koepka (USA)        €255,658 T5    Ryan Moore (USA)        €255,658

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?