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Day triumphs after tragedy

Published November 24, 2013 11:30 pm

Golf • After losing eight relatives in typhoon, he scores World Cup victory.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Melbourne, Australia • After nearly withdrawing due to a family tragedy, Jason Day made an emotional return to golf at the World Cup at Royal Melbourne on Sunday to earn his first tournament victory in more than three years.

His 7-foot putt to save par on the 16th hole held off a faltering Thomas Bjorn. Day had a 70 for a 10-under total of 274. That was two strokes better than Denmark's Bjorn, who finished with a 71 after two late bogeys.

Day's last 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.

The World Cup was Day's first tournament in five weeks and came less than two weeks after he learned that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in the devastating Nov. 9 typhoon in the Philippines.

His mother, who immigrated to Australia from the Philippines 30 years ago, and sister were just off the green on 18 at Royal Melbourne. They both hugged him as he walked to the scoring tent to sign his card.

"It's just been an amazing tournament for me," Day said. "My mother, my family, coming down to support me. I'm just so happy the hard work has paid off, and I'm glad it happened in Melbourne.

"It would have been the easiest thing for me to just go ahead and pull out of the tournament with what has been going on over the last week," he added. "But I really wanted to come down here and play."

Day's situation wasn't lost on Bjorn.

"Obviously a fraction disappointed, I didn't play that great today," Bjorn said. "But I couldn't be happier for Jason winning. He has gone through a rough time of late and for him to even be here is a big thing and then to go and win a golf tournament ... that's what you want to see."

Masters champion Adam Scott finished third after a 66, three strokes behind.

Day earned $1.2 million for winning the individual title and helped Australia win the team portion of the World Cup. Day and Scott, who each holed approach shots for eagles Sunday, shared the $600,000 first-place team prize.

LPGA Tour

In Naples, Fla., Shanshan Feng of China seized control early and was flawless in the final round of the LPGA Tour season, closing with a 6-under 66 to win the LPGA Titleholders and claim the richest prize in women's golf. Feng opened with four birdies in six holes to go from two shots down to the outright lead, and she never gave it up the rest of the way at Tiburon Golf Club to earn a $700,000 check.

Gerina Piller stayed within one shot and had a 10-foot birdie attempt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff. It narrowly missed, and Piller had to settle for a 69 and her best finish on the LPGA Tour.

Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had a 70 and finished alone in third.