Sunday 25 September 2016

Ruthless Day on brink of World No 1

James Corrigan

Published 01/09/2015 | 02:30

Jason Day, of Australia, reacts after hitting a birdie putt on the 14th green during the final round of play at The Barclays golf tournament
Jason Day, of Australia, reacts after hitting a birdie putt on the 14th green during the final round of play at The Barclays golf tournament

If Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth were under the misconception that it was a two-horse race for the world No 1, then Jason Day put the pair right on Sunday.

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The Australian backed up his breakthrough at the US PGA Championship two weeks before with an emphatic triumph at The Barclays.

This means that any of golf's three young protagonists could claim top-dog status in the rankings at the Deutsche Bank Championship this weekend.

It would take a brave gambler to bet against Day. From being the player who could not close, he has suddenly been transformed into the player who seemingly finds it difficult to lose.

Henrik Stenson looked on in astonishment as the 27-year-old Australian followed a third-round 63 with a 62 for a 19-under total and a six-shot win at Plainfield in New Jersey.

"Jason's making it look easy at the moment," the Swede said.

Of course, it was not always thus for Day. He announced himself in 2007 with the bold and much pilloried pronouncement that he was "working towards taking that No 1 spot from Tiger (Woods)". Despite backing up the comment in the next seven seasons with marked consistency - seven runner-up finishes, including three in Majors - there were only two titles.

The question was: did Day, one of the most popular figures in the locker room, have the required killer instinct?

He has provided the answer in the past six weeks. After two wins in his first 171 PGA Tour events, there have now been three in his past four, which, together with his Torrey Pines success in February, makes him the first Australian to win four times in a PGA season in more than 40 years.

As well as sending him to the top of the FedEx Cup play-off rankings, with three tournaments to go and the $10m bonus dangling tantalisingly, Day has the chance to achieve his stated destiny.

Woods may no longer be the man to surpass, but in McIlroy and Spieth there are two superstars to overhaul.

"Looking at it now, I never thought I'd have the opportunity, mathematically, to get to No 1," Day said. "Yeah, it's been a goal of mine, but I need to keep concentrating on playing good golf, let the rest take care of itself." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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