Jason Day of Australia is all the way back.
The 35-year-old Day, once the top-ranked player in the world, posted a brilliant, bogey-free nine-under par 61 to win the 70th AT&T Byron Nelson by one stroke over Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Austin Eckroat at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
“It’s been a struggle for a few years, actually five years since I last won, so it was great to play the way I did today and get it done,” said Day, who claimed his 13th PGA Tour victory, his 18th as a pro, and first since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship. “I’ve been playing better the last couple of years, but it was a real struggle for a while and I actually thought about quitting when I was having back problems.
“To play the way I did today, and all week for that matter, and to finally get another win is very special. I’ve been working so hard the last couple of years and to see all that work pay off with a victory really means a lot.
“All phases of my game were working, and that’s what it takes to win.”
Day, whose first PGA Tour victory came in the 2010 AT&T Byron Nelson, made the first three of his nine birdies in a row from the third through fifth holes and never let up, tapping in his winner on the final hole for a fifth birdie on the back nine and recorded a score of 23-under-par 261.
Kim, who has four PGA Tour victories including the 2017 Players Championship, also birdied holes three through five in his bogey-free 63, while Eckroat, seeking his first title as a pro, birdied four of the last seven holes in a bogey-free 65.
C.T. Pan of Taiwan eagled the 14th and 18th holes while making six birdies in a 62 to finish two shots back in solo fourth, while second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who was expected to battle Day for the title, carded a bogey-free 65 to finish three back in a tie for fifth with Tyrrell Hatton of England, who birdied the last three holes to cap a 64, and Zecheng Dou of China, who had five birdies on the front nine in a 67.
“I felt I played pretty solid, but just not good enough,” said Scheffler, who could have regained the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings from Jon Rahm of Spain with a victory. “I hit a lot of good putts, but my ball-striking was just a little bit off. That’s something I can easily fix in the next few days ahead of the PGA Championship.
“The short game kept me in it and I made some nice putts, including some long ones, but just not enough of them or it would have been a better score than 65. But I feel good about my game and I’m looking forward to next week.”
Adam Scott of Australia, the 2013 Masters champion who also won the 2008 Byron Nelson, collected four birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 63 and wound up four strokes down in a tie for eighth with Vincent Norrman of Sweden, who highlighted his 66 with a five-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole, and Ryan Palmer, who finished with a second straight 68 that included three straight birdies through No. 9.
Two-time defending champion K.H. Lee of South Korea never had a chance to join Tom Watson (four) and Sam Snead as the only players to win the tournament three times, as he birdied the last two holes to close out a 67 and tied for 50th.
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