Jason Day survived a marathon Sunday and then made quick work of things on Monday.
The 30-year-old Australian carded a birdie on the sixth playoff hole, the only one needed on Monday, to win the Farmers Insurance Open for the second time after Alex Noren of Sweden hit his approach shot into the water on the 18th hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines in La Jolla.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Day, who claimed his 11th PGA Tour victory, but first since the 2015 Players Championship on his way to becoming No. 1 in the world. “I didn’t have a very good season last year with stuff going on off the course, my mother having cancer and my back bothering me.
“I worked hard in the off-season to get back and this is a great way to start the year. I want to get back to No. 1 and this is a big step in the right direction. It’s great to get win No. 11 and I’m really happy.”
Day and Noren both made three birdies and two pars on their five playoff holes late Sunday, with Ryan Palmer dropping out by making only a par on the first extra hole, where the other two had birdies.
Noren seemed to have the advantage on Monday when Day drove into the right rough and had to lay up on the par-5 finishing hole, but the Swede’s approach shot from 230 yards from the first cut of rough hit the green and spun back into the water, leading to a bogey.
“I thought I had the advantage and hit what I thought was a good one, but it was a little short of perfect,” said Noren, who has won nine times on the European Tour after playing college golf at Oklahoma State, and was looking for his first PGA Tour victory. “The ball spins a little more coming out of the first cut of rough.
“It’s disappointing, but I learned a lot and I’m proud of myself for hanging in there. It’s still a good day.”
Day, who won the 2015 Farmers in a playoff over Harris English, J.B. Holmes and Scott Stallings, hit a brilliant approach shot inside of two feet and tapped in for the winning birdie. He birdied the 18th hole all four times during the playoff.
It came after he withdrew from the Wednesday pro-am because of his troublesome back and struggled through a 73 on the South Course in the first round, before bouncing back with a 64 on the North in round two and playing the weekend in 71-70.
Day started the week at No. 14 in the world, but will climb back into the top 10.