MARANA, Ariz. (AP) - One shot came out of bottom of a cactus, the other from the base of a desert bush with rocks scattered around it.
Both times, Jason Day felt the Match Play Championship was his to win Sunday. And both times, he watched Victor Dubuisson turn the impossible into pars in the wildest conclusion ever to a tournament that is unpredictable even in normal circumstances.
“At that time, you’re just thinking, ‘Do I need to just hand him the trophy now after those two shots?’” Day said.
Dubuisson finally ran out of magic.
Day ended the madness at Dove Mountain on the fifth extra hole when he pitched over a mound to 4 feet and made birdie, a sigh of relief as much as it was cause for celebration at capturing his first World Golf Championship.
“I kept shaking my head because there was a couple of time there where I thought he was absolutely dead - the tournament was mine,” Day said.
It was remarkable enough when the 23-year-old Frenchman stood in a fairway bunker on the 17th hole, 174 yards away and needing to win the last two holes to force overtime. He did just that with a 15-foot birdie and a par save from the bunker.
And then came back-to-back pars that defied belief.
Dubuisson sailed over the green on No. 1 and into the desert, the ball lodged at the base of a cholla. Day was in the bunker, a fairly simple shot, especially when CBS announcer David Feherty walked over and said the Frenchman would have to take a penalty drop.
With an all-or-nothing swing, Dubuisson whacked his 9-iron through the sharp needs and into a TV cable. The ball scooted up a hill covered by 3-inch rough and onto the green to 4 feet below the hole. He made par to keep going.
It was reminiscent of the shot Bill Haas pulled off at East Lake from shallow water on the 17th hole in a playoff.
Only this was even more improbable - and it came with an encore.
From the ninth fairway, Dubuisson pulled his approach left of the green, left of the bleacher and into the desert at the bottom of a bush.
“I walked over there and it was in a tree, a flower tree of some sort, in this little crevice. I mean, it looked absolutely dead,” Day said. “I’m like, ‘Yes.’ I hit 8-iron into 20 feet. There was so much pressure on him. And he does it again.”
After halving the next two holes with bogeys and pars, Day watched his opponent hit driver on the 333-yard 15th hole too far too the right. And he heard the Frenchman say under his breath, “Dead.”