PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Jason Day wanted to win The Players Championship so badly that he wasn’t going to let anything stop him.
Not the super slick greens that nearly derailed him Saturday. Not the three muffed chips that turned potential birdie into a unsettling bogey as he made the turn Sunday. And certainly not the best field in golf.
With another command performance, Day put his stamp on No. 1 in the world by never letting anyone closer than two shots in the final round, playing bogey-free on the back nine of the TPC Sawgrass for the fourth straight day and closing with a 1-under 71 for a wire-to-wire victory in The Players Championship.
It was his seventh title in the last 10 months. And the 28-year-old Australian wants to win a lot more.
“I want to be to be able to be looked back on and know that ‘he was one of the greats in the game.’ If I have the opportunity to do that, I’m going to try my best,” Day said after his four-shot victory. “And I have the opportunity to do that right now, try and work has hard as I can to really leave my footprint in this game. I’m very motivated to win as much as I can right now.”
He stomped his way all over everyone at the Players, even though he had a few nervous moments. Day made bogey on No. 6, had to make a 15-foot par putt on the next hole and really looked out of sorts from just 40 feet right of the green on the par-5 ninth. He muffed three straight chips and had to make a 6-foot putt just to escape with bogey, dropping his lead to two shots.
“If I walk away with a double bogey there, I let everyone (back) in the field,” he said. “I was right there next to the green in two and felt like an amateur chopping my way to the pin. That putt was probably the most crucial putt of this tournament for me.”
Two 15-foot birdies over the next three holes restored his margin and sent him on his way. The last hurdle was finding land on the island-green 17th, and he cleared the water with about 10 feet to spare.
Day’s seven victories dating to the Canadian Open include the PGA Championship, The Players, a World Golf Championship and a pair of FedEx Cup events, all some of the strongest fields in golf.
He became the first wire-to-wire winner in 16 years at Sawgrass, and he joined Tiger Woods, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson as the only players to go wire-to-wire twice in the same season dating to 1970.
Day finished at 15-under 273 and earned $1.89 million, the richest payoff in golf.
Kevin Chappell, who finished one shot behind Day at Bay Hill, was 5 under over his final 10 holes for a 69. He picked up a consolation check of $1,134,000 and moves just outside the top 30 in the world, giving him a spot in the next two majors.