OAKVILLE, Ontario – In the end, it was Jason Day’s day.
The 27-year-old Australian captured his second victory of the Tour season Sunday at the RBC Canadian Open by one shot over Bubba Watson, and two over Canadian David Hearn.
Jason Day admittedly did not know where he was on the leaderboard until his third shot on the par-5 finishing hole.
“This course is really exciting,” he said. “Even Bubba and David had a chance to make it into a playoff. I needed that putt on 18.”
In regards to that putt on 18, one thing Day was not going to do was leave it short. As he put it to reporters after his round, “To be able to put yourself in contention so many times, especially in major events and just fall short, even going back to last week leaving the putt short and not being able to get into the playoff really kind of was disappointing.
“So when I actually had the same putt, it was a very similar putt on the 72nd hole today. Same things were going through my mind. Make sure you get it to the hole. Fortunately enough for me, it was quick enough to where I just needed to get it on the line. If I got it on the line, it was perfect. I just knew as soon as I hit the putt about six feet out, I knew it was going to come back and go in the hole.”
The emotion poured as Day unleashed an emphatic fist-pump on the green ahead of both Watson and Hearn after draining his 22-foot birdie putt at the last – his third birdie in a row. It would get the Australian to 17 under, which was enough to capture his fourth PGA Tour victory. He earned 500 FedExCup points and jumps to fourth in the standings.
Day returned to the RBC Canadian Open for the first time since 2006. He was pegged as the favorite but admitted he didn’t hear any of the pre-tournament buzz thanks to the extra day at The Open Championship.
“This must feel like what Tiger did for so many times,” he said. “And, it feels good.”
Day explained he never felt so much at home as he did at Glen Abbey.
“It was great to feel like a Canadian for a week,” he stated. “The last two weeks have been a big grind for me, but it’s all worth it. Right now, I’m so proud to be the Canadian Open champion.”
Despite leading for most of the day, Hearn left a number of putts short in the final round. That was the biggest difference for the native of Brantford, Ontario.
“I felt confident, like I was putting well all week,” he said. “I hit really really good putts that didn’t go in.”
Hearn ended up finishing third after his birdie putt on 18 to tie Watson lipped out. It’s his second near miss in three weeks after losing in a playoff at The Greenbrier. He said this is the best golf he’s playing in his life.
“Winning a golf tournament on the Tour is no easy task,” he admitted. “Canadians want to see it, and we want to do it so bad.”
For his efforts, Hearn won the Rivermead Challenge Cup as low Canadian. It’s his third time winning the honor.
Watson, a self-proclaimed “half Canadian” (his wife Angie is from nearby Pickering, Ontario), finished second alone after a final round 3-under 69.
Watson closed the week by making birdies on his final four holes. He shot 19-under on the back nine for the week, which was the key for him, especially on Sunday.
“Fifteen was one I got lucky with. I hit a great shot in there,” he said. “I had an 8-iron that I flared on 16 but still got a birdie. Then hit a perfect 8-iron that flew five yards too far on 18. I was just hoping the other guy named Jason Day wasn’t making putts.”
This was Watson’s fourth top-three finish on the season.