Day, Noren tied after 5 holes of PGA playoff


Associated Press

SAN DIEGO

Jason Day watched the flight of his wedge for as long as he could and had to listen to the crowd to realize he nailed it.

“I can’t see,” he said to his caddie.

Alex Noren was 5 feet away from extending the playoff Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open, a putt he could easily have missed except that the Swede could rely on experience. He had a similar putt in regulation and knew it broke off to the right.

Day and Noren went at it for 77 holes at Torrey Pines, and after five sudden-death playoff holes, it still wasn’t enough to crown a winner. They matched birdies in the dark on the par-5 18th, and then had no choice but to return today to decide the longest playoff in the 67-year history of the event.

“We both played some pretty good golf, especially down 18 going back and forth, back and forth, which is good entertainment for the fans,” Day said. “It’s good to be back in the action, good to be back where I’m at right now. But I’ve got to get some rest.”

Day has gone 20 months since his last victory.

Both players had a good chance to end it — Noren from 12 feet on the 18th in regulation, Day from 12 feet on the third playoff hole at the par-3 16th.

“It’s so important over every shot, and maybe not as much as stroke play, you know, you can play safe sometimes and you can play aggressive here,” Noren said. “Here, you need to play aggressive to finish it out.”

Ryan Palmer began the playoff with them at 10-under 278. He was eliminated with a par on the 18th on the first extra hole.

Day closed with a 2-under 70. Palmer hit wedge to 2 feet for birdie for a 72 to get into the playoff. Noren, who had a one-shot lead at the start of the final round, closed with a 73.

By then, Tiger Woods was long gone.

It was the third playoff in three weeks on the PGA Tour, all of them lasting at least four holes. And while it was entertaining, thousands of fans weren’t around to see it. They left after Woods finished his round. In only his second PGA Tour event since August 2015, Woods closed with a 72 and tied for 23rd, seven shots out of the lead.

Woods said it was a mostly positive week, and it was hard to argue considering he was returning from his fourth back surgery. He at least was closer to the fairway in the final round, but hit only three fairways for the third straight day.

“I got a lot out of my rounds,” Woods said. “The short game wasn’t something I was worried about. I knew what I could, what I’ve been doing at home. That wasn’t going to be an issue. It was going to be, ‘Can I shoot low scores?’ I didn’t, but I grinded out some good rounds.”

The final hour of the tournament was a big grind.

Day, Noren, Palmer and J.B. Holmes — the latter three in the final group — were tied for the lead with six holes to go.

Day twice missed the green with a short iron in his hand, and one of those shots led to bogey. He didn’t make a birdie on the back nine in regulation. Noren appeared to have the steadiest game until he pulled his tee shot into the hazard on the 14th hole and did well to escape with bogey.

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