Day prevails after epic final
1:05am Monday 24th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Australia's Jason Day held his nerve to win the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship on Sunday after Victor Dubuisson threatened to pull off a truly astounding victory at Dove Mountain.
Day finally prevailed on the 23rd hole of an epic final that saw Dubuisson produce two extraordinary recovery shots to keep the contest alive.
Dubuisson conceded the first two holes of the final to Day and although he got back on level terms by the fourth, the Frenchman bogeyed four of the next five to fall three down at the turn.
The gap was still three with just six holes remaining only for Dubuisson to reduce his deficit with a birdie on the 13th and then keep the match alive with another on the 17th after Day had missed his birdie attempt to seal victory.
And when Day three-putted the 18th from 65 feet, Dubuisson saved par from a greenside bunker to keep his hopes alive of winning a WGC title at the first attempt.
The real drama was yet to come as Dubuisson seemingly wasted all his hard work when his approach to the first extra hole bounded through the green and came to rest in a seemingly unplayable lie underneath a cactus.
However, the 23-year-old somehow conjured a pitch onto the green and to within four feet of the hole, from where he holed for par after Day had saved his from a greenside bunker.
Day showed little emotion at Dubuisson's remarkable escape, but the 26-year-old was left smiling and shaking his head in disbelief as his opponent repeated the trick on the second play-off hole.
After pulling his approach to the par-four ninth into more desert bushes, Dubuisson casually pitched out and calmly holed from seven feet for par after Day had missed his birdie attempt.
US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson wrote on Twitter: "Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!" and Gary Player added: "This is simply fantastic stuff!! @Vdubush is Houdini."
The next two holes were halved before Day finally sealed victory with a birdie on the fifth extra hole after an excellent pitch to three feet.
Dubuisson had the consolation of taking £545,000 for second place which, coupled with his earnings for winning the Turkish Airlines Open last season, means he is set for a Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles in September.
In the third/fourth place play-off, Els birdied the 18th to force extra holes, only for Fowler to make his own birdie on the first extra hole to take third.