Sunday, 27 March 2016
Jason Day - the 2016 WGC - Dell Match Play Champion  (Getty Images)
Jason Day - the 2016 WGC - Dell Match Play Champion (Getty Images)

Jason Day won the WGC-Dell Match Play for the second time in three years with a 5 and 4 victory over Louis Oosthuizen in the final at Austin Country Club.

Day's short game had been in brilliant shape all week and proved to be his most potent weapon on Sunday as he first defeated defending champion Rory McIlroy in the semi-finals and then overcame Oosthuizen, who like Day had a 100 per cent record coming into the final.

Oosthuizen had beaten Rafa Cabrera Bello in his semi-final, and the 52nd seed topped off a week that had seen him qualify for the Masters Tournament by beating McIlroy in the consolation match to finish third.

But the star of the show was Day, who overcame a back injury suffered on Wednesday to win his third European Tour title, and he will move back to Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking.

For South African Oosthuizen, it was a continuation of the fine form that saw him win the ISPS HANDA Perth International last month, for a player who had made the quarter-finals in the past two years at this event.

"I'll take a lot out of this week," said Oosthuizen. "I finished quarter-finals a few times and missed out, so now to get to the finals, it's better.

It means a lot, confidence-wise, especially two weeks before the Masters - Louis Oosthuizen

"Confidence-wise, you're swinging well, you know you're playing well, so you just need to be patient. And mental strength is going to be a big issue that week."

Oosthuizen played the first beautifully, leaving himself 12 feet for birdie and while he missed that putt, a Day bogey moved him one up.

However, his second on the third hole resulted in a drop and Day was back on level terms before the Australian put his tee-shot on the fourth to 11 feet and made the birdie to move ahead.

It was advantage Oosthuizen after the tee shots on the seventh but the 2010 Open Championship winner needed three from just off the edge and a Day par extended the lead to two.

Both men parred the eighth but an approach to seven feet yielded another Day birdie on the ninth and the lead was three as they headed to the back nine.

That brilliant iron play continued and approaches to six and three feet on the 13th and 14th brought two further birdies and sealed the win.

"It feels great to do this," said Day. "And even with a sore back this week, obviously it gradually got better and better, but I'm just really, really pleased with how I played.

"When you have the short game on, especially around here, you can definitely go low.

I've been working very hard on that short game and on the greens I just felt like I could hole anything - Jason Day

Day won the last Major Championship of 2015 at the US PGA Championship and is now aiming to make it two in a row when the Masters gets under way at Augusta National on April 7.

"It would be great to win Augusta," he added. "But I've got to make sure I get in and do the little things that count towards the big picture and that's my prep in getting ready for that week."

Cabrera-Bello and McIlroy had been involved in a nip-and-tuck battle in the consolation match before the Spaniard won the 14th, 15th and 16th for a 3 and 2 win.

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