MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Jason Day made a 7-foot par-saving putt on the 16th hole, Thomas Bjorn bogeyed and the Australian won his first tournament in nearly three years at the World Cup at Royal Melbourne on Sunday.
Day’s 70 left him with a 10-under 274, two strokes ahead of Bjorn, who also bogeyed the 18th, with a 71.
Day’s last tournament victory came at the Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour in 2010, although he’s had four top-five finishes in majors since 2011.
Adam Scott finished third after a 66, three strokes behind. Scott, trying to win his third tournament in a row, shot 75 on the opening day, including a nine on the 12th hole, and spent the rest of the tournament trying to catch up.
Day won $1.2 million and Australia also captured the team portion of the World Cup. Day and Scott, who each holed approach shots for eagles Sunday, also shared the $600,000 first-place team prize.
American Matt Kuchar shot 71 to finish fourth in individual stroke-play, three behind Day.
Ryo Ishikawa (69) of Japan and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who shot 70, finished tied for fifth, seven behind the winner.
The World Cup was Day’s first tournament in five weeks and came two weeks after he learned that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in the Nov. 9 typhoon in the Philippines.
His mother, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines 30 years ago, and sister were just off the green on 18. They both hugged him as he walked to the scoring tent to sign his card.
Day led by four strokes after nine holes thanks to a big swing on the fifth and sixth. Day bogeyed the par-3 fifth after going into bunker and Bjorn birdied, leaving them tied for the lead.
But on the sixth, Day’s gap wedge from about 87 yards hit the green once and rolled into the hole for eagle. Bjorn, who was in the rough with his tee shot, made bogey and there was a three-shot swing to put the Australian back in the lead.
Day walked up to the green to pluck the ball out of the hole to the cheers of the roving Fanatics cheerleading squad dressed in Australia’s yellow and green, then threw one of them his ball.
On the next hole, Day increased his lead to four over Bjorn when the Danish player three-putted for bogey.
After making the turn with the four-shot lead, because of a 12-foot par-saving putt on nine, Day ran into problems on the 10th when his tee shot went into the left rough.