February 24 2013
MARANA Ariz. -- Jason Day rebounded after a shakey semifinal loss Sunday morning to take down one of the game's best at this format in Ian Poulter.
Day earned $615,000 for his third-place finish and improved to 8-3 in three appearances at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Poulter's record is 22-11 and he has one win and two fourth-place finishes in nine starts.
Both players had stretches were they were in control. Poulter was 2 up through six holes after Day conceded the first and the Englishman won the fourth with par.
Day started to gain some confidence, though as he won three straight holes starting at the seventh hole. Those two pars sandwiched around an 8-foot birdie putt at the eighth hole took Day from 1 down to 1 up.
The Aussie then led the final 10 holes but didn't make it easy on himself. He won the two par 5s on the back nine with pars to go 3 up but in each case needed a birdie to halve the following hole.
Day then bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes to give Poulter a glimmer of hope. Day sealed the 1-up win, though, when he made a clutch 9-footer for par with Poulter looking at a 7-footer of his own to possibly extend the match.
"I won three holes straight, and we were kind of laughing and giggling out there for the first nine, and once we turned the corner on 10, everything got real serious," Day recalled. "He obviously made a couple of good clutch pars on 16 and 17."
SCORECARD STATS: Day made three birdies and three bogeys while conceding one hole to Poulter. Poulter made two birdies and four bogeys.
HOLES WON: Day won five holes. Poulter won four.