Jason Day's magnificent first three rounds earned him the right to limp over the line at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

 
Sam Torrance
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Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Final Round
Jason Day claimed his first win of 2016 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday (Source: Getty)

If you're going to take playing tips from anyone at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then a man who has won it six more times than anyone else is probably an ideal candidate.

World No2 Jason Day revealed his text message dialogue with eight-time Bay Hill winner Tiger Woods after completing his first win of the season on Sunday, just 18 days before the Masters.

Day wasn’t at his best as he carded a final round of 70 to finish 17 under par and beat American Kevin Chappell by a solitary shot, but let’s not forget he earned that right over the first three days.

The Australian was magnificent for 56 holes. Even the best find it difficult to see a tournament out, and the fact that Day can do it when comparatively mediocre is another arrow to his quiver.

Despite his errors, he always seemed to conjure something special when the pack got close, such as his fantastic birdie at 17 and that very special bunker shot to save par at the last.

Timing-wise, with just two more events before Augusta, it is a great victory and will give the US PGA Championship winner huge confidence as he prepares to go for back-to-back Majors.

The Masters is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Majors for a long time, purely because there are so many players who look like realistic candidates for the Green Jacket.

Henrik Stenson, who tied for third at Bay Hill, is one of those. The Swede would have been disappointed to find the water with a five iron at 16 when sharing the lead, but on the whole he’ll be buoyed by a solid performance and looks to be hitting top gear.

I don’t think Rory McIlroy, who tied for 27th, will be concerned that he is the only one of the big three, alongside Day and Jordan Spieth, yet to win this season.

There are positive signs from the Northern Irishman, who dug deep after a first round 75 to shoot a 67 and then closed with a 65 that featured moments of brilliance.

McIlroy’s time could come this week at the WGC Match Play, where he is defending champion and among at least a dozen who could conceivably win in Texas and do the same at Augusta.

I love match play. It’s a great format and may be well suited to how Rory is playing at the moment: he has had a few double bogeys of late, which hurt you more in stroke play, but plenty of birdies.

The week’s other notable action saw a heart-warming win for SSP Chawrasia, who triumphed at the Indian Open having finished runner-up at his home event four times previously.

Perhaps the best moment came when Chawrasia hit a beautiful wedge to the last and Anirban Lahiri, who finished two shots behind in a tie for second, greeted the shot with generous applause.

Delhi Golf Club is perhaps the hardest course in the world on which to take a lead into the final round. There is so little margin for error that it magnifies the pressure.

But Chawrasia handled it very well and his reward was a win that regained his full European Tour privileges and boosted his hopes of playing at this year’s Olympics – nothing short of life-changing.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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