After the thrill a minute ride of the five sudden death holes the previous evening, the finish was a somewhat less exciting affair after Noren hit his second shot in the water at the par-5 18th.
Hitting first with Day in the right rough off the tee, Noren gambled on reaching the green in two but despite hitting an almost perfect shot he was centimetres short and watched, deflated, as his ball trickled back into the hazard.
Day safely laid up then hit a spectacular wedge to kick in range to make the victory, his first since the 2016 Players, a formality.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Day said after the play-off. “I’m just kind of taking it in right now because I was up all night last night just thinking about trying to get that next win.
“And this is…I’m really happy I had my best mate on the bag (fellow professional Rika Batibasaga) and it was a nice way to go.”
Wow.January 29, 2018
Day said a winless 2017 season had him motivated to bet back to the World Number One Position.
“I know that last year wasn’t the greatest season for me,” he said.
“I had some stuff off course that was a little distracting, obviously with my mother having cancer.
“It’s special because I worked very hard in the off season to try to get back to this position.”
While overjoyed to be back in the winner’s circle Day’s health remains a concern with ongoing back issues almost forcing him out of the tournament before it started.
“Going back to earlier this week I never thought I was going to play because of my back,” he said.
“I had an MRI a week and a half ago. I was in Palm Springs and I threw it out and it’s something I am just going to have to deal with unfortunately.
“I’m trying to change a few things in my swing to try to relieve some of the pressure that I put on my back through the swing because I actually put a lot of force and torque, especially on the lower part of my back.”
No. 11 after six playoff holes!January 29, 2018
Clearly aware of the issues, Day said he would continue to manage the condition as best he could.
“My facet joints in the spine, through my constant swing, they’ve just got larger and larger. They actually got a little bit bigger,” he said.
“When they get bigger they get closer to the nerve and when they get closer to the nerve and I throw my back out I get shooting pains down both legs
“Once again, I just have to keep myself strong, have to keep my core strong and just try and improve and hopefully I’m here till 40, 45, 50. That’d be nice.”
The win is Day’s 11th on the PGA Tour and second at Torrey Pines where he was also the champion in 2015.
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