Jason Day wins Japan Skins Challenge with birdie on decisive 18th hole

October 21, 2019

Despite never playing a skins match in his life, Jason Day prevailed in the highly-anticipated Japan Skills Challenge Monday, winning the 18th hole with a birdie over Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama.

The four-way match came down to the final putt — a putt for Woods — but it didn’t reach the hole. Day’s tap-in birdie, which followed a stellar bunker shot, earned him an extra $100,000, bringing his tally to $210,000 for the event. Woods and McIlroy tied for second with $60,000 while Matsuyama was only able to garner a single skin with $20,000 in his home country.

Day earned the first three skins with a birdie on the third hole of the day, during what was a slow start for the entire group. Day’s birdie on 3 was the only birdie throughout the first four holes of the event.

After an awkward start, Woods rallied into the lead winning a pair of holes for five skins on the front nine. McIlroy earned four skins himself on the 12th hole — and was asked about Brooks Koepka’s rivalry comments while doing so — and Matsuyama bagged his lone skin on the 13th.

The group tied holes 14 through 16, and Day stole four skins from McIlroy when he made his longer birdie putt and McIlroy missed from about seven feet. With the final hole worth $100,000, every player was still in it on the finishing par-5.

Day was the only one to hit the fairway, however. And then Woods was the only other one to muster a birdie putt. From about 13 feet, the 15-time major-winner left his try more than a foot shy of the hole.

The Japan Skins was the first skins event on the PGA Tour in many years, and the entertainment value was impressive. You can find out what worked, what didn’t and how it all looked by listening to the Drop Zone below. Dylan Dethier and I stayed awake throughout so you didn’t have to.