Australian Jason Day earned his first PGA Tour victory in five years on Sunday, winning the Byron Nelson tournament with a nine-under-par 62 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
The 35-year-old has not won since the Wells Fargo Championship in May of 2018 but his birdie on the par-5 final hole gave him a one-stroke victory over Kim Si-woo of South Korea and American Austin Eckroat.
Day’s first PGA Tour win came in the same tournament 13 years ago, albeit at a different venue in suburban Dallas.
“It’s been a struggling few years, five years since our last victory. The way I’m playing now is very special. I’m very happy and pleased with how things have progressed in the last two years. 1,835 days to be exact,” he said.
Day said battling a back injury hampered his form but his determination helped him get back to his best.
“Just non-stop grinding and non-stop wanting to improve and to try and get better. Many injuries on my back… just trying to get through those three years, just trying to get through a tournament was hard,” he said. .
“So, to be on the other side of it, to be healthy…really winning again. It’s good to be on the other side,” he said.
Day found his momentum with three consecutive birdies from the third hole and the highlight of his round was chipping in from 37 feet for birdie at the par-4 12th.
When Kim took a share of the lead, one hole in front of him, with a birdie at the 18th, Day knew a par would be enough for the Korean’s playoff.
The Australian rose to the challenge with an incredible 80-yard strategy shot on the final hole that landed two feet from the hole for a simple birdie and the win.
Eckroat, in the final group, was left needing an eagle to force a playoff with Day, but his approach went behind the green and he had to settle for birdie and a round of 65.
“Everyone was solid, and I really felt like I played well enough to win. It’s just hard to beat a guy who comes out and shoots 9-under,” the 24-year-old said.
After his disappointing third-round 71, world number two Scottie Scheffler threatened, reaching the turn with four birdies, but he had to settle for a share of fifth place after missing a simple birdie putt at finally.
Scheffler will now turn his thoughts to the PGA Championship at Oak Hill next week.