Jason Day ends five-year drought with PGA Tour win

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Former world No.1 Jason Day laid down a marker for the PGA Championship by ending a five-year drought with a gripping win on the PGA Tour in Texas on Monday morning (AEST).

Day, who hadn’t won a professional tournament in 1835 days, continued his career renaissance with a one-shot victory at the Byron Nelson, just a week before the men’s second major of the year at Oak Hill.

The Queenslander has been tortured by back problems and other health issues in recent years, with his world ranking sliding to 164 late in 2022.

But a stunning start to 2023 will put him among the favourites for the PGA Championship after a bout of vertigo derailed his US Masters campaign on the final day.

Day (23 under) fired a nine-under 62 in the final round – including 30 on the back nine – to pip Korea’s Si-woo Kim and rookie Austin Eckroat at the Byron Nelson, with Adam Scott (19 under) also posting a closing 63 for a top-10 finish. World No.2 Scottie Scheffler (20 under) finished tied-fifth.

“The way I played today was really special,” Day said. “I’m very pleased and happy with how things have progressed over the last couple of years.

Jason Day during the final round of the Byron Nelson in Texas.Credit: AP

“[It’s been] just non-stop grinding and non-stop wanting to improve and try and get better. I’ve had a lot of injuries with my back, and for a moment, I thought I wasn’t going to play again.

“Trying to get through those two years of just trying to [finish] a tournament was difficult. So to be on the other side of it and be healthy … [I’m] feeling good about my game, finally winning again.”

Holding a one-shot lead playing the 72nd hole, Day laid up on TPC Craig Ranch’s par-five 18th after drawing his drive into the rough, but hit his wedge to just two feet to roll in the birdie putt.

His wife Ellie, who is expecting their fifth child this year, was on hand to watch Day’s win in the Byron Nelson, which was also the site of his first PGA Tour tournament victory in 2010.

Day qualified only for the PGA Championship out of the four majors last year, but will creep closer to the world’s top 20 with the win.

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