Despite having never played a skins match before, Jason Day prevailed in the highly-anticipated The Challenge: Japan Skins after winning the 18th hole with a birdie over fellow competitors Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama.
The four-way match, which was held at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan, 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 superb 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 win a single skin to pick up $20,000.
After the group tied the first two holes, Day earned the first three skins with a birdie on the third. After a slow start, Woods took the lead after winning a pair of holes for five skins on the front nine. McIlroy earned four skins himself on the 12th hole, while Matsuyama bagged his lone skin on the 13th.
The group tied holes 14, 15 and 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 five. Day was the only one to hit the fairway, however. And then Woods was the only other one to have a birdie putt. From about 13 feet, the 15-time major-winner left his effort more than 12 inches short to hand the win to Day.
Day said: “Overall, it was a brilliant event and it was great to win. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever played skins, and it’s the first time I’ve ever finished under floodlights, so that was exciting too. Apparently Tiger has played in six TV skins matches and he hasn’t won one yet, so I am one up on him which is good! We had a lot of fun out there and hopefully I will get the invite to come back next year.”
Jason Day – Skins won 8, $210,000
Tiger Woods – Skins won 5, $60,000
Rory McIlroy – Skins won 4, $60,000
Hideki Matusyama – Skins won 1, $20,000