Australia’s Jason Day overcame his nerves to secure his first PGA Tour victory at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He beat Brian Gay, Blake Adams and Jeff Overton by two strokes at TPC Las Colinas in Texas.
It was a tough final round for the Australian who went into Sunday with the lead. He scrapped hard all the way through his last 18 holes just to keep his nose in front, and he could well have lost the tournament at the death when he found water on the final hole. But, not knowing that Day‘s ball had ended in the water, Blake Adams followed him right into the hazard.
Day managed to salvage a closing bogey while Adams made a double and finished in a tie for second with Brian Gay and Jeff Overton. Gay surged up the leaderboard with an excellent closing 63.
Day almost didn’t play in the tournament because he was feeling so ill on Thursday morning – an undiagnosed illness which he has been suffering from since the beginning of the season – but he elected to give it a try, managed to open with a 66 and was tied for the lead after round one. He stayed around the top of the leaderboard throughout the week and was eventually able to close out the win. It has moved him to 23rd on the FedEx Cup standings.
“It’s been a hard, tough road,” Day said. “I’m glad I just stuck through it.”
Although 22-year-old Day‘s name will go on the winner’s board, another youngster took much of the limelight through the week. 16-year-old Jordan Spieth – the reigning US junior amateur champion – became the sixth youngest player ever to make the cut on the PGA Tour then looked like he had a chance to win the event during Sunday’s back-nine. He was just thee shots back at one point.
Unfortunately Spieth faded somewhat down the stretch to finish in a tie for 16th but it was an incredible debut performance.
“It was awesome … the entire round, the entire week,” Spieth said. “Starting the week, I definitely would’ve taken a top 20, in a heartbeat. Obviously now, looking back, being a competitor, I look back at the mistakes I made that didn’t give me an opportunity to win.”
Spieth will play again on the PGA Tour in Memphis next month.
HP Byron Nelson Championship
TPC Las Colinas, Texas
May 20-23, purse $6,500,000, par 70
1 Jason Day (Aus) 66 65 67 72 270 $1,170,000
T2 Brian Gay (USA) 72 68 69 63 272 $485,333
T2 Blake Adams (USA) 66 64 70 72 272 $485,333
T2 Jeff Overton (USA) 67 65 69 71 272 $485,333
T5 Cameron Beckman (USA) 69 61 75 68 273 $247,000
T5 Scott Verplank (USA) 70 65 71 67 273 $247,000
T7 Arjun Atwal (Ind) 69 71 64 70 274 $189,150
T7 Ben Crane (USA) 70 64 74 66 274 $189,150
T7 Dustin Johnson (USA) 67 68 72 67 274 $189,150
T7 Tom Pernice Jr (USA) 69 68 66 71 274 $189,150
T7 D.A. Points (USA) 68 66 70 70 274 $189,150
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only