SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The third time finally proved to be the charm for Jason Day.
After sharing the 54-hole lead at both the U.S. and British Opens this season, the 27-year-old Australian finally cashed in from the top of the leaderboard to win the PGA Championship Sunday at Whistling Straits.
Day fired a final-round 67 at the course on the shores of Lake Michigan, finishing with a score of 20-under par, the lowest any player in the history of the sport has ever finished to par in a major championship.
"It's a fantastic record to hold," said Day, who often grew emotional during interviews after his win. "There's been such amazing golfers, especially throughout the history of golf, our sport, and to have that record just goes to show the work I've put in is paying off."
Day's brilliant play allowed him to hold off Jordan Spieth by three strokes, denying the young Texan a chance to become only the third golfer to win three majors in one season.
The win helps Day to escape from the dreaded "never won a major" list and provides a nice cap to what had been a disappointing majors season. Day entered Sunday of the U.S. Open with a share of the lead but battled a bout of vertigo and came up short at Chambers Bay. He did the same at St. Andrews for the British Open but missed a birdie putt on the 18th green that kept him out of playoff won by Zach Johnson.
Day has been incredibly consistent in 22 career starts at the majors, garnering seven top-5 finishes and 10 appearances in the top 10. Both his play and personality have made him a fan favorite.
Spieth, who overtook Rory McIlroy to become No. 1 in the wold golf rankings, finished with a final round 68 and was playing for a chance to join Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only golfers to win three majors in one season.
Day, however, wasn't much interested in letting Spieth's history trip up his own bid. He entered the final round with a two-shot lead over Spieth and was aggressive early, taking birdies on the second, fifth, sixth and seventh holes.
When Day matched his playing partner's birdie putt on the par-5 fifth, Spieth felt the need to inform his caddy of something that was readily apparent.
"He's on today," Spieth said as the pair climbed toward the sixth tee.
Day's birdie on No. 7 extended his lead to four shots over Spieth. A bogey by Day on No. 8 proved to be his only a hiccup; his lead over Spieth and the rest of the field would never shrink to smaller than three strokes.
While it's not the same as hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy, Spieth can take consolation in an incredible achievement of his own. His combined score of -54 at the majors bested Tiger Woods' previous record of -53 set in 2000.
Day joins four other Australians who have won the PGA Championship: Jim Ferrier (1947), David Graham (1979), Wayne Grady (1990) and Steve Elkington (1995).