Jason Day tapped in for birdie at the 18th hole to polish off a 9-under 62 and win the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday in McKinney, Texas.
After starting the day two shots off the pace, the former world No. 1 from Australia captured his first PGA Tour title in five years and eight days.
“For some reason, I just thought that I was going to win the tournament,” Day said. “It’s easy to say that now because I won it, but that’s just — for some reason I just had this sort of calmness about it.”
Day broke through a crowded pack atop the leaderboard with a nine-birdie, bogey-free performance in the final round at TPC Craig Ranch to finish 23-under 261 for the week. When Austin Eckroat failed to make an eagle at the last hole to match Day at 23 under, Day’s 13th career PGA Tour victory was secured.
Day will carry his stellar form into next week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Day’s only career major title came at the 2015 PGA.
Challenges with injuries and vertigo slowed Day’s career in the years that followed, and on top of that, he lost his mother in 2017. So to win the Byron Nelson on Mother’s Day was a meaningful moment for the Aussie.
“I was in tears for a little bit there, and to think about what my mom went through from 2017 on to her passing last year and then to know that — it was very emotional to go through and to experience what she was going through, then I had injuries on top of all of that going on in my life,” Day said.
“To be honest, I was very close to calling it quits. I never told my wife that, but I was okay with it, just because it was a very stressful part of my life.”
Day didn’t quit, and as a result of Sunday’s performance he rose from No. 35 to No. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking, returning to the top 20 for the first time since 2019.
“I think the advice that I’d have to give (my former self) is just to be patient, always strive to try and get better, and it’s mainly about the journey,” Day said. “Just trying to better yourself not only on the golf course but off the golf course, as well, and growing and learning and just trying to be a better person I think is where it’s at.”
Day finished one stroke ahead of Eckroat (final-round 65) and South Korea’s Si Woo Kim (63).
Every birdie mattered for Day. He tallied four on the front nine and five on the back. At the par-4 10th, he flighted his ball out of a fairway bunker to inside 6 feet of the pin for a birdie putt. At the par-4 12th, he chipped in from about 38 feet off the green.
And his third shot on the par-5 18th spun back to just 2 feet, 2 inches from the cup.
C.T. Pan of Taiwan also shot a 62, featuring eagle putts at the par-4 14th and No. 18, and finished alone in fourth at 21 under.
Scottie Scheffler, the second-ranked player in the world and the hometown favorite in the Dallas area, rebounded from a middling third round by posting a bogey-free 65. He tied for fifth at 20 under with England’s Tyrrell Hatton (64) and China’s Zecheng Dou (67).
–Field Level Media