WASHINGTON, D.C.: As a kid just learning the finer points of golf, Filipino-Australian Jason Day dreamed of someday becoming the best golfer in the world, and he yearned to fulfill that dream before age 22.
No, Day did not achieve his objective of breaking his idol Tiger Woods’ record of becoming the youngest No. 1. But he finally vaulted to world No. 1 Sunday by his runaway win at the BMW Championship in Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Day zoomed out to a formidable early lead with scores of 61 and 63 in the first two days and was never challenged even after somewhat cooling off with a 69 Saturday to keep a six stroke lead going into the final day.
His 2-under, final-round 69 and 22-under par total was good for a six-shot victory over rookie Daniel Berger and third placer Scott Piercy, who finished seven strokes back.
The win was Day’s fifth on tour this season and his second in the lucrative FedEx Cup four-tournament playoffs.
Day, 27, overtook Irish Rory McIlroy and American Jordan Spieth in golf’s official ranking, and the hot streaking Filipino-Australian is poised to amass a potential record $13-million prize earning bonanza in a span of one week.
Pocketing the top prize of $1,485,000 as BMW champ, he leads the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings to advance to Friday’s PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
A winner in four of seven tournaments he entered in less than two months, Day is now favored to win it all in the season’s finale in Atlanta that offers a top prize of $1,485,000– plus the $10 million FedEx Cup top prize of $10 million.
According to PGA.com, he has so far chalked up $7.6 million this year in prize earnings in his best season ever in the professional golf tour.
“I just always had a vision of me standing on top of the world when I was a kid,” Day said. And knowing that right now, there’s no one on this planet that’s better than me is cool.”
Since narrowly missing the British Open Championship on July 20, Day has bounced back, winning an incredible four of seven starts. In a span of 51 days, he won RBC Canadian Open, copped his first major at the PGA Championships, and then topped The Barclays and BMW Championships.
The son of a Filipina immigrant from Leyte, Day started hitting balls at age 6 with a 3-wood that his late Australian father, Alvin, recovered from a trash heap in Australia. He picked the game fast, and was breaking par and winning local tournaments five or six years later.
He was not even 20 and just beginning his pro career when he publicly proclaimed his goal “to be the No. 1 golfer in the world,” a declaration that was deemed preposterous then by the golfing world.
On Sunday at Conway farms, Day achieved his dream.
And he set a few records along the way.
Day was the only the third–and youngest–Australian to become world No. 1. The first, the legendary Greg Norman, was 31 years, seven months and four days when he ascended to golf’s summit on September 14, 1986 and the second, Adam Scott, was 33 years, 10 months and two days when he got there on May 18, 2014, according to Fox Sports Australia.
He matched the all-time PGA Tour record of 124 strokes through his first 36 holes at the BMW Championships.
Day also became only the third player to win five PGA events in a single season, joining golf greats Woods and Vijay Singh.