Sport Golf

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Day in cruise control at BMW as he seizes world No1 spot

Jason Day with the BMW Championship trophy
Jason Day with the BMW Championship trophy

William S Callahan

JASON Day has been playing 'near perfect' golf in recent weeks according to friendly rival Rickie Fowler, but such was the Australian's dominance of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, near Chicago, that 'adequate' proved sufficient for a fifth victory of the season.

Day began the fourth round leading by six shots, and never looked likely to permit any serious threat to his position at the head of the leaderboard.

He duly got the job done with a round of 69, two under par, to win by six shots from closest challenger Daniel Berger who was beaten by Padraig Harrington in a playoff for the Honda Classic last March.

Scott Piercy came third on 15 under, while JB Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy, were bracketed together on 14 under.

McIlroy is not yet back to his inspirational best after his ankle ligament rupture. He had to settle for 70 and 14 under overall, with the knowledge that every round he has played on his comeback brings him closer to the form he knows he can produce.

In claiming this victory, Day achieved another of his cherished ambitions, as he moved from number three in the World rankings to number one, nudging Rory McIlroy out of the top spot.

"Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to get to number one in the world and today I did that, which was great. "Knowing I had to win this week to gain that spot, and stepping up and doing it, was fantastic," said Day.

Including the British Open at St Andrews last July, Day has now won four times in his last seven tournaments - the Canadian Open, US PGA Championship, The Barclays and now the BMW Championship.

His first 'W' of 2015 came at the Farmers Insurance Open in February, and little did the golfing world know that was only the beginning for Day.

Jordan Spieth looked like making a move upwards with four birdies on his front nine, but fell away on the back nine and registered a one under par 70 for eleven under.

In Europe, Peter Lawrie took a significant step toward regaining his Tour card by finishing tied-14 in the 72nd Italian Open at Club Golf Milano.

Lawrie, 41, rounded off his week with 68 for 15 under par to be leading Irishman in the tournament, which was won by Sweden's Rikard Karlberg in a sudden death playoff against two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer.

Both players finished on 19 under par, with Karlberg nicking a birdie on the second playoff hole for his maiden Tour win.


Meanwhile Lawrie had battled his way into 109th placed on the Tour rankings, and could only wish the season ended right there, as the top 110 by the end of the campaign gain their cards for 2016.

The Dubliner, winner of the Open De Espana in 2008, has relied on sponsor's invitations for entry into the 24 events he has played so far, and the €21,650 he earned brought his total to €187,293.

Last year €235,230.98 was the figure which gave Anthony Wall 110th place and his 2015 card, so Lawrie has to hope he gets another few chances and maintains the form he showed in Milan, as does the tournament winner Rikard Karlberg.

Karlberg, 28, has played most of his golf in Asia and claimed a full European Tour card at Q-School last year.

"It feels amazing to get my first win and it has been a pretty crazy year for me, so to get my first win on Tour and to give myself such a huge boost in my career is pretty special," he said.

Kaymer led by three shots at one stage but a poor back nine derailed his bid for victory.

Padraig Harrington shot 67 for 12 under and a share of 33rd place. Paul McGinley's 73 placed him joint 63rd.

Darren Clarke withdrew on Saturday due to a wrist injury.

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