Day def. Dubuisson to win WGC Match Play

Jason Day during the finals of the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

Coming off late surges to victory, Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson met in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play on Sunday afternoon – and it took a total of 23 holes for Day to claim victory.

Day had dispensed of Rickie Fowler in the semifinals, while Dubuisson had needed a comeback to top veteran Ernie Els – and nearly completed another one, with some unlikely scrambling pars to stay alive in the playoff after squaring the match at the 18th.

Recap the championship-match action, as well as the consolation between Els and Fowler – and also be sure to scroll down for our tournament coverage to date:

• • •

Fifth playoff hole: No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards

The driveable par 4 takes center stage. Dubuisson misses wide right and in some deep rough, while Day's ball settles in the intermediate – and each will have a tricky second shot. Dubuisson's shot runs long and stops against the collar. Day's pitch checks just short of the hole and slides about 3 feet past. Could Day get his first win since a concession at the turn – to claim the match?

Dubuisson needs a long birdie putt to ensure he'll survive. He gets close but settles for par. Day then sinks the putt to claim the championship.

DAY WINS, 1 UP

• • •

Fourth playoff hole: No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards

After a wait for the gallery to settle, as has been the circumstance at previous playoff holes, Dubuisson finds the fairway and Day does the same. Day misses short and left, while Dubuisson notches the first green in regulation of these playoff holes.

Day chips it close, and Dubuisson concedes the par effort – then stands over a birdie putt that looks great but slips low at the last moment. Onward.

THRU 22: All Square

• • •

Third playoff hole: No. 10: Par 4, 493 yards

Both men are in play off the tee, after which Dubuisson comes up short on his approach – but after two up-and-down efforts from shrubs on the desert floor, he'll probably take the fairway lie even though it's short-sided. Day's approach finds the sand, and this playoff is still looking for its first green in regulation.

Day is away and hits to about 10 feet, past the pin and a little right. From the turf, Dubuisson runs it past the pin as well. Still away, he putts and misses low. Day then has a chance to win – but it glides past on the high side and leaves a comebacker of about 3 feet. That one falls and they're on to the 22nd. 

THRU 21: All Square

• • •

Second playoff hole: No. 9: Par 4, 476 yards

Day finds the fairway, then the back collar of the green. Dubuisson hits his drive in the first cut at the end of the fairway, pulls it left and again into natural desert area. His ball comes to rest against an apparently dead branch – and again the Frenchman hits it uncannily close, inside 10 feet. Day putts close enough for a conceded par, and all attention turns to Dubuisson's par effort. It's good, and they head to the 21st. [Note: An earlier version of this update stated the wrong hole being played as the second playoff hole.]

THRU 20: All Square

• • •

First playoff hole: No. 1, Par 4, 460 yards

Neither player takes driver here and both find the fairway. Dubuisson misses the green badly and ends up in a natural desert area up against a cactus/shrub. Day then hits it into the bunker. It'll be a short-game contest – if Dubuisson's lie permits.

And what an unexpected shot from Dubuisson, who quickly punches it to about 5 feet or so from a treacherous spot. That puts the onus on Day's play from the sand trap – and he flops it high but it runs left and more than 5 feet past.

So it will come down to two relatively short putts. Day goes first and makes it. Dubuisson makes as well and they head to the 20th.

THRU 19: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 18: Par 4, 480 yards

Day's approach is long past the pin, which is at the front, but holds the back of the green; Dubuisson hits it in the left bunker. Day's long lag runs about 8-10 feet past. Dubuisson's sand wedge gets to about 3-4 feet. That means Day can sink his par putt for the title – but it's short. Dubuisson makes and this match, like the consolation, goes extra.

THRU 18: All Square

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 482 yards

Dubuisson drives it in the bunker and hits his approach to birdie range; Day drives it in the rough and also finds the green, outside of Dubuisson and about 20 feet from the pin. Day misses just t the right; Dubuisson concedes the tap-in, then must birdie from about 12-15 feet to stay alive. He sinks the putt and it goes to the 18th.

THRU 17: Day, 1 up

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 3, 199 yards

Both players find the green here but leave more than 30 feet for birdie. Day's putt drifts low, leaving him maybe 3 feet for par. Dubuisson, on a similar line, rolls his birdie putt a bit past on the high side, within concession distance. Day then sinks his par putt to maintain his two-shot cushion with two to play.

THRU 16: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Rickie Fowler takes third place with a birdie at the first extra hole.

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 4, 343 yards

Dubuisson reaches the green and two-putts for birdie to put the onus on Day. Day's drive is pin high but misses right, and he flops out of the rough past the hole but still makeable, inside 10 feet. He reads it perfectly and earns another halve; two more of those and the championship is his.

THRU 15: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Fowler and Els both find the fairway and then the green, with Els having the closer of the two looks for birdie. Fowler's putt falls off low and runs past, giving Els a chance to take the match to extra holes. That birdie roll is right in the heart and we're going to extra holes.

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 4, 449 yards

Dubuisson has a birdie putt here to cut the deficit in half, but it misses and the hole is halved with pars. With four holes to go, Dubuisson's work is cut out for him if he's to achieve a comeback daily-double.

THRU 14: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Fowler birdies the 17th with a putt that just falls over the front lip – that gives him a 1-up lead heading to the 18th tee.

• • •

Hole No. 13: Par 5, 583 yards

Day hits his tee shot in the rough and recovers to find the green in three, but it's Dubuisson who makes birdie to win the hole and narrow his deficit a bit. Again, it's comeback watch for the man from France.

THRU 13: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Birdies at the 15th keep Els and Fowler match all square with three to play.

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 3, 219 yards

This one is halved with a pair of greens in regulations and two-putts. Move along, nothing to see here.

THRU 12: Day, 3 up

• Consolation: Rickie Fowler sinks a par putt at the 14th to square his match with Ernie Els with four to play.

• • •

Hole No. 10: Par 4, 493 yards

Day finds the green and two-putts for par, while Dubuisson misses the green but chips close enough to make his putt for the up and down to halve the hole.

THRU 10: Day, 3 up

• Consolation: Fowler needs a par putt to halve the 12th, but hits it firmly past on the high side and falls further back; Els wins his third in a row and goes 2 up with six to play.

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 476 yards

A concession here gives Day his third win in four holes for his biggest lead of the match – but a mark from which, as we've mentioned, Dubuisson has battled back today in his semifinal victory over Ernie Els.

THRU 9: Day, 3 up

• Consolation: Back to birdies, this time one from Els at the 11th giving him his first lead of the match.

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 5, 576 yards

Whereas Fowler and Els parred here earlier for a halve, the championship contenders both birdie with good-looking putts as Day maintains his cushion; he's got four birdies in his first eight holes.

THRU 8: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Els squares the match as Fowler bogeys to lose his narrow advantage [an earlier update contained an error in relation to par here].

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 4, 486 yards

Dubuisson's approach lands on the front of the green and spins back off, while Day finds the middle. His birdie putt from there gives him a win and his second two-hole lead of the final.

THRU 7: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: This match once had five holes in a row birdied, but at the turn has seen its last three in a row halved with pars as Fowler continues to lead 1 up.

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 3, 185 yards

A par by Jason Day wins the hole when Dubuisson again can't convert a par putt. The Aussie reclaims the lead.

THRU 6: Day, 1 up

• Consolation: Pars again here, as neither can manage birdie on this par 5; Fowler's still 1 up.

• • •

Hole No. 5: Par 4, 536 yards

Dubuisson's first three-putt in more than 72 holes gives him a bogey, which Day also cards after trouble off the tee, thanks to a fine fourth shot from the bunker.

THRU 5: All Square

• Consolation: The birdie binge in this match ends at five, as they halve the seventh hole with pars for Fowler to remain 1 up.

• • •

Hole No. 4: Par 4, 393 yards

Day comes up short of the green, then needs two to find the front of the green with his fourth shot and makes about a 15-18 footer for bogey. Dubuisson then looks to square the match with about a 6-footer for par, and does exactly that.

THRU 4: All Square

• Consolation: This match is moving more quickly, understandably so. A second straight birdie for Fowler, the fourth in a row in this match, puts him 2 up. Els answers with the fifth straight birdie in this duel to cut the lead back to 1 up in Fowler's favor.

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 3, 208 yards

Both players find the green here, with Dubuisson giving himself a good look at birdie. Day's putt doesn't fall, but Dubuisson's does, and the Frenchman's comeback this time begins early in the match.

THRU 3: Day, 1 up

• Consolation: A third straight birdie in this match since pars to halve the first, this time Fowler again, puts the match back in the hands of the American at 1 up.

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 574 yards

Dubuisson struggles here, making bogey and giving another hole to Day early. Another early deficit for the Frenchman? We'll see how long his comeback mentality can hold up.

THRU 2: Day, 2 up

• Consolation: Els bounces back to answer Fowler's birdie with one of his own at the par-3 third hole to square the match again.

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

Day fires out of the gate with a birdie to get a quick lead on Dubuisson, who clearly knows how to stay in a match regardless of the score.

THRU 1: Day, 1 up

• Consolation: After halving the opening hole with pars, a birdie by Fowler gives him the early lead on Els. It's only Fowler's second birdie of the day as he goes 1 up.

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 460 yards

Day fires out of the gate with a birdie to get a quick lead on Dubuisson, who clearly knows how to stay in a match regardless of the score.

THRU 1: Day, 1 up

• Consolation: After halving the opening hole with pars, a birdie by Fowler gives him the early lead on Els. It's only Fowler's second birdie of the day as he goes 1 up.

• • •

Sunday-morning semifinals coverage

Match recap: J. Day def. R. Fowler, 3 & 2

Jason Day built an early lead, saw it narrowed, then rebuilt it to hold off the No. 14 seed who made it all the way to the final day in Rickie Fowler.

• Match recap: V. Dubuisson def. E. Els, 1 up

Ernie Els jumped out to a 3-up lead through four holes, but a gradual comeback saw Victor Dubuisson square the match, then lead twice – finally at the 18th hole for a win that seemed unlikely not long after the sun rose.

• • •

Saturday's fourth-round coverage

Match Play preview: Sunday's semis feature three surprises

Jason Day is the only true "favorite" that is left standing at Match Play, with Victor Dubuisson, Ernie Els and Rickie Fowler all registering as semifinals surprises at Dove Mountain.

5 Things: Fowler survives at Match Play; Day returns to semis; more

Proving that there is nothing about this purest of all golf formats that can be explained, the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship were played out Saturday with a series of surprises at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

• • •

Friday's third-round coverage

Rude: Sergio Garcia should be applauded for Friday's concession

While some might say Sergio Garcia's shocking concession on the seventh hole showed a lack of competitive spirit, but our Jeff Rude says it is a sign that the Spaniard is maturing.

McCabe: 18th hole provides captivating theater at Match Play

In Friday’s third round, which featured eight matches, the 18th hole was the place to be at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

5 Things: McDowell's magic; Spieth's birdie barrage; more

From yet another comeback by Graeme McDowell to Jordan Spieth's continued good play in match play to Bubba Watson's exit, here are 5 Things to know after Friday's round in Marana, Ariz.

French mystery: 'Shy' Victor Dubuisson quietly climbs rankings

Victor Dubuisson, a self-described loner, debuts in the United States while quietly ascending the world ranking.

• • •

Thursday's second-round coverage

J. Day, H. English smartly conquer second-round Match Play challenges

Thursday, we again saw evidence in the WGC-Accenture Match Play that the toughest hole can be the five inches between the ears. The mental part of the game again was on conspicuous display in, among other matches, a couple that went extra holes and were claimed by young stars Jason Day and Harris English.

G. McDowell: "I was dead and buried, both days," after second come-from-behind win

Live from the desert, a golf sequel to “The Year of Living Dangerously,” with Graeme McDowell, not Mel Gibson, playing the lead role. Shaking his head, he was trying to get his thoughts around what had just transpired in the second round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. By all respects, the man from Northern Ireland should have been packing his bags to head home. Instead, he’s on to the third round.

5 Things: R. Fowler stays hot; top seeds ousted; more

The unpredictability of match-play tournaments reared its head Thursday, and it provided plenty of surprising fireworks at Dove Mountain. From Rickie Fowler's comeback win over Jimmy Walker to Hunter Mahan's date with Graeme McDowell, as well as all four No. 1 seeds heading home, take a look at 5 Things you need to know after the Round of 32.

• • •

Wednesday's first-round coverage

5 Things: Snedeker sneaks in; McIlroy moves on; more

Thirty-two matches, 64 players, nearly 10 hours of golf – and dozens of reasons why it's the best day of the year for pure PGA Tour fun, non-major category. But with so much going on, no time to waste. Here are 5 Things to know from Day 1 of the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Surprising starts: Bubba's comeback; Fowler, Blixt upsets

And for your morning breakfast, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship served up a trio of surprises. Rickie Fowler beating Ian Poulter and Jonas Blixt eliminating Keegan Bradley? No argument there. But Bubba Watson ousting Mikko Ilonen? A surprise? If you go by stature in the game, resumes and seedings – Watson was 11th, Ilonen 54th – it surely wasn’t, but the way things turned in the American’s favor certainly was.

McDowell: 'Very fortunate to have escaped' at Match Play

There are no guarantees in golf, if we hadn’t known that before. Nothing is certain, particularly in 18-hole match play, even when you are 3 down with three holes left and your opponent sends an approach shot toward the pin. That was Graeme McDowell’s predicament in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

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