Jason Day (Getty Images)
Home hero Jason Day secured an emotional victory in the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf with an imperious display at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
A week after losing eight members of his family in Typhoon Haiyan, the 26 year old Australian showed commendable mental strength to see off Denmark’s Thomas Björn by two strokes.
Day’s closing round of 70 for a ten under par aggregate total, allied to his team-mate Adam Scott’s seven under par score, also meant Australia were crowned World Cup of Golf winners for the fifth time.
Day said: “I found out last week that we lost some family members over in the Philippines and to have my mum here over the weekend, even to have my sisters and my nephew, to be here to be as a family knowing that I can hold them is very special to me.
“To let them see me play some good golf and to win in front of a great sporting city like Melbourne, I am just happy that she is here and I get to hug her.
“It would have been the easiest thing for me to just go ahead and pull out of the tournament with what has been going on over the last week, just to be up there with my mum and support her. But I really wanted to come down here and play with Adam and really try and win the World Cup and we achieved that which is great.
“We will most likely set something up and definitely be giving some money or raising money and trying to raise awareness to what has really happened over there.
“To have that lead going into Sunday with all that stuff going on, to finally finish off and hit a great shot into 18 like I did and to win like that was a very big move in my golfing career.
“I just really don’t know what to think right now. All the hard work and dedication that I have put into my game, you know, especially over the last five, ten years, that I have really taken it serious is paying off.
“It’s taken me a while to get my second win and it couldn’t be more fitting with Scotty by my side winning the World Cup down here in Melbourne.
“I had a lot of fun out there today and right now I am just the happiest guy.”
A shot clear of Björn overnight, Day bogeyed the first after his pitch came up short of the green only to remain in the lead after his playing partner went long with his approach and also dropped a shot.
Björn birdied the third from 15 feet, but Day was able to follow him in from half the distance and went two ahead with a magnificent approach to three feet at the next.
The 42 year old Björn was level again when he birdied the fifth from 12 feet and Day bogeyed after hitting his tee shot in the bunker at the front of the green, but the Dane – also a runner-up under the old format in 2001 – bogeyed the next two holes.
Day holed from the fairway at the sixth and turned four shots clear as a result, but saw his advantage halved when he hit the ball in the bushes off the tee and double bogeyed the tenth.
Björn got within one of the lead with a pitch to a foot at the 11th and drew level once more when he fired his approach to tap-in distance at the 13th.
Both players birdied the long 15th, but Day held his nerve over the tricky closing stretch as Björn bogeyed the 16th after an errant drive and dropped a shot at the last after pushing his approach into the bunker.
Scott finished with a brilliant 66 to take third in the individual contest on seven under and help the hosts romp to a ten shot victory over defending champions the USA in the team contest, for whom Matt Kuchar finished fourth on six under.
Afterwards Björn said: “Obviously a fraction disappointed, but I didn’t play that great today to be honest.
“I made a couple of mistakes here and there and not as good as I played the other two days. Six and seven was a big turning point in the round, obviously Jason holing his second shot on six.
“As a whole it’s been a great week. It’s been a great pleasure to play on this golf course the way it has played this week and I couldn’t be happier for Jason winning. He has gone through a rough time of late and for him to even be here is a big thing and then to go and win a golf tournament and for them to win the team event as well, that’s what you want to see. There’s nothing that is better for small populated countries than when their sports people do really well and these two are fantastic.
“Obviously when you’re in it you want to win it, but you have got to take that and I didn’t play well enough today I didn’t think, but I still had a chance coming down the stretch.”