MARANA, Ariz. – Jason Day never stopped believing he would win the Match Play Championship, even in the midst of so many shots by Victor Dubuisson that defied belief in the final.
With his ball at the base of a cactus, Dubuisson took an all-or-nothing swing though the sharp needles and a TV cable and incredibly hit it to 4 feet to save par. Seemingly out of it again on the next playoff hole, the 23-year-old Frenchman somehow whacked a wedge through a desert bush and rocks and onto the green for another par.
Day finally ended the suspense Sunday on the 23rd hole with a pitch to 4 feet on No. 15 for a birdie.
It was the first time the championship match went to overtime since the inaugural year in 1999 at La Costa, when Jeff Maggert chipped in on the second extra hole of a 36-hole final.
“Those two shots were amazing,” Dubuisson said. “I just played it like I had nothing to lose.”
Day, with his first World Golf Championships victory, walked away with his second PGA Tour title. The 26-year-old Australian moved from 11th to No. 4 in the world ranking.
But the final might be remembered mostly for Dubuisson’s magical escapes.
“Vic, man, he has a lot of guts,” Day said.
Day, seeded eighth in the field of 64 at Dove Mountain, earned $1.53 million. Dubuisson, seeded 27th, made $906,000.
“I’m disappointed because I made some terrible shots,” said Dubuisson, temporarily ignoring the two incredible ones.
Day was laughing after one of Dubuisson’s par saves.
“At that time, you’re just thinking, ‘Do I need to just hand him the trophy now after those two shots?’ ” Day said.
Day didn’t get flustered during Dubuisson’s magic act.
“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.”
• Anna Nordqvist of Sweden won the LPGA Thailand to end a five-year victory drought, holding off top-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea at Siam Country Club in Chonburi.
Nordqvist closed with a 4-under-par 68 and had a 15-under 273 total to beat defending champion Park (66) by two strokes.
Nordqvist, 26, earned $225,000.
• LPGA Tour player Alena Sharp of Canada won the Symetra Tour’s season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic by two strokes over Marissa Steen in Mesa, Ariz. Sharp closed with a 1-under 71 for a 12-under 204 total.
University of Washington graduate Sadena Parks (68) was among four players who tied for third place at 9 under.