Day survives the magic of Dubuisson in Match Play

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2014 at 8:59 pm •  Published: February 23, 2014
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"I'm disappointed because I made some terrible shots," Dubuisson said on the 15th green when it was over, ignoring the two that were as close to a miracle as golf allows.

But they were incredible. Even the great Seve Ballesteros would have saluted this performance.

"Those two shots were amazing," Dubuisson said. "I just played it like I had nothing to lose."

He gained plenty in defeat. This tournament will be remembered as much for two improbable shots out of the desert as Day winning a trophy he always believed would belong to him — even in the midst of shots that defied belief.

Day won for the second time on the PGA Tour and rose to a career-best No. 4 in the world.

It was the first time the championship match went overtime since the inaugural year in 1999 at La Costa, when Jeff Maggert chipped on the second extra hole of a 36-hole final. That was like watching paint dry compared with the show Dubuisson put on.

"Vic, man, he has a lot of guts," Day said. "He has a great short game — straight out of the cactus twice. For a 23-year-old kid, he's got a lot of game. We're going to see a lot of him for years to come."

Day won $1.53 million. Lost in all the theater was that he never trailed over the final 53 holes of this fickle tournament.

Dubuisson earned $906,000, all but assuring a PGA Tour card for next year. And he all but clinched a spot on the Ryder Cup team in September, moving to the top of the points table by the equivalent of about $1.5 million.

Dubuisson only reached the championship match by rallying from 3-down after six holes against Ernie Els in the morning semifinals. The Frenchman said he couldn't sleep Saturday night, perhaps because he realized he was playing a four-time major champion.

He wound up beating Els with a par on the 18th hole to meet Day, who beat Rickie Fowler 3 and 2.

Fowler beat Els in 19 holes in the third-place match.

For all the heroics by Dubuisson over the final hour of this amazing show, Day certainly had his moments. Perhaps his greatest feat was never losing faith he would win, even as it appeared the golfing gods were in Dubuisson's corner.

"The biggest thing was, 'How much do I want to win?" I kept saying that to myself. Last night, I kept visualizing myself with the trophy," Day said. "I'm glad I could finish it off. But it was a close one."