Jason Day has the Masters and top spot on the world rankings firmly in his sights after becoming the first Australian to win at Torrey Pines.
Day outlasted Americans JB Holmes, Harris English and defending champion Scott Stallings in a playoff to win the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open on the second extra hole on Sunday and aims to use the win to kick-start a breakthrough season.
Day becomes the highest-ranked Australian at No.4 after his third US PGA Tour win, relegating Adam Scott to No.5, but it’s a Masters green jacket and the rankings top spot he really craves.
He seemed set for a breakout season last year when he won the WGC-Match Play championship, only to be thwarted by multiple injuries and illness.
“I’ve never been more motivated to play well than right now,” said 27-year-old Day.
“I’ve come close so many times to having great years so I really want to kick butt this year.
“I’ve said all along I want to win the Masters and this sets me up with some momentum.
“And I’ve always said that my ultimate goal is to get to that No.1 spot in the world.
“I visualised myself winning and holding the trophy before this week so obviously that tells me that I need to start doing that a lot more.”
Day, who already has seven top-10 finishes in majors from 17 starts, three of which are runner-ups, plus a third and fourth, revelled in the tough conditions at the iconic Torrey Pines coastal course in southern California.
Likening the set up with deep rough to a US Open, which was played at Torrey in 2008 and returns in 2021, Day is set to take huge confidence forward into the year’s four majors starting at the Masters in April.
To get to the top of the world Day must get by Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson and runaway leader Rory McIlroy.
“I feel like I’m becoming more of a dominant player,” Day said.
“A lot of people when they feel fear they kind of run away from it but I just said `enough’, instead of running away from it I’ve got to run towards it and face it.
“I did that this week.”
“Rory is playing tremendous golf right now.
“There’s certain players that come along in this world of golf and make winning look so easy and he’s one of those guys.
“So it’s obviously going to be tough to catch him, but that’s why we are here.
“I don’t want to go through life thinking, what if I worked a little harder.
So, if I can put in 100 per cent every day, really give it a good shot, then at the end of my career, whatever I’ve won in my career, I know that it’s been successful.”