Jason Day defeated Louis Oosthuizen 5 and 4 on Sunday to win the WGC-Dell Match Play after going to-to-toe with Rory McIlroy in the semi-finals.
After taking out last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Day – who is set to move back to world number one when the rankings are updated on Monday – proved too strong for his South African opponent as he captured his sixth win in 13 starts.
Despite winning, it was a turbulent week for the talented Australian after his ongoing back problem appeared to flare up again in his convincing win over Graeme McDowell on Wednesday.
He even hobbled off the 18th green and declined to speak with reporters.
But Day was brilliant once again, recovering from a bogey at the first hole, which saw him fall one-down early at the Austin Country Club.
Day drew level at the third hole and moved one-up, an advantage he never relinquished as the nine-time PGA Tour champion moved two-up at the ninth before increasing his lead by as much as five at the 14th.
“I just kept on rolling from last week,” Day said. “And even with a sore back this week, obviously it gradually got better and better, but I’m just really, really pleased with how I played.”
Though the final did not go his way, Oosthuizen has a lot of positives to take out of this event. The South African beat Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson to get to the semi-finals, where he then dispatched Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Cabrera-Bello won holes 14, 15 and 16 to upset world number three McIlroy 3 and 2 in the consolation match.
The strong finish got Cabrera-Bello into the Masters and inched him closer to a Ryder Cup spot.
McIlroy, the defending champion, settled for fourth.