When Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play almost a year ago, most everyone -- including Day -- expected the victory would mean a big step toward the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Unfortunately, soon after, Day took a big step back, losing much of 2014 to a thumb injury. The 27-year-old got right just in time for an impressive run in the FedEx Cup playoffs, posting three top-seven finishes in three starts. (He withdrew from the BMW Championship.) Now, three starts into his 2015 campaign, Day is a winner again.
Day picked up his third PGA Tour win on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, outlasting J.B. Holmes, defending champion Scott Stallings and fellow 20-something Harris English in a two-hole playoff.
Host Torrey Pines played more like a major venue -- which it was for 2008 U.S. Open and will be again for the 2021 national championship -- than your standard PGA Tour event. The 9-under total to get into the playoff was the first time a PGA Tour event's winning score was single digits under par since last year's Quicken Loans National at Congressional C.C., another U.S. Open site where day finished runner-up (albeit a distant one) to Rory McIlroy in 2011.
Day thrives in the U.S. Open arena, posting three top-four finishes in the last four years. The win at Torrey on Sunday only reaffirms a healthy Day is a threat to win the year's second major at Chambers Bay.
That's four months from now. Day can look forward to the Masters before then, where he's been on the medal stand twice in the last four years. There's also the opportunity for Day, now fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, to inch closer to Rory McIlroy and No. 1, a position he had in his sights a year ago before injury and the Ulsterman's second half of 2014 put that out of reach.
“I really honestly felt like I was going to get to number one last year," Day said afterward. "And then the thumb injury, that took me out for about three months. But I’ve worked very, very hard over the off-season. Hopefully I can stay healthy and have a great season. It’s very satisfying to put in the work and have it pay off so quickly.”