Day holds off big challenge to win PGA title

Randal Sanchez
May 7, 2018

The first time they played together in a PGA Tour event?

After starting a flawless Sunday with a two-shot advantage Day's lead dwindled to a single stroke with back-to-back bogeys at Nos.

"He asked if he could be the world No. 1, I said absolutely", said Swatton, who would become Day's coach, caddie and confidant. "When you are on call to do something good and you pull it off, to be clutch like that, with a lot of heart. That was awesome to watch and hopefully I could pass that along in my game today". McIlroy has multiple top 10s on this course, but his final position on the leaderboard has gotten progressively worse every year since 2014. He finished at 12-under 272. And that's with a victory earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open, his first win since the 2016 Players. After opening with 69-68-69, the 40-year-old began T3, three back.

It is only two years since Day was dominating the game before a spell of inconsistency. He will be in the final group for the first time in almost four years as he tries to win for the first time since a back injury two years ago.

He got up and down from the right-hand rough on the last for par to finish at 12 under for the week.

Welcome to the biggest non-major of the rest of 2018 this week at the Players Championship.

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"Your sub-conscious is sitting there going, 'You're going to fail, you're going to fail, you're going to fail'". "I just kept on saying to myself, 'Forget about it and keep pushing"'.

And this week is the PGA Tour's signature event, the Players Championship at TPC-Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

It was the best round at Quail Hollow since McIlroy's 61 in the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship in which he crushed the field. He was joined at at seven under by Bryson DeChambeau (66), Aaron Wise (70) and Paul Casey (69). "And he's a great putter".

"One of the best wins I have ever had ... So he's got strengths in all the areas that he needs".

Day has found the desire than he lost last year, and the 30-year-old Australian does not feel that far off from that dominant run two years ago that took him to No. 1 in the world. Day pumped his fist and cheered on his playing partner before he rolled in the winning putt.

"I hit the ball halfway decent I wasn't disappointed with that", Woods told reporters. "So to turn it into a gives me a shot tomorrow". It left him a blind shot, but without pines in his way. "Hit some good drives that just ended up off the fairway, some landed in the fairway, so I wasn't disappointed with that".

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