Feb
23
2014
Videos: Dubuisson shows off his short game skills
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
While Victor Dubuisson didn’t end up winning, he deserves credit for the clutch shots he hit coming down the stretch, along with the unbelievable up-and-downs from the desert in extra holes.

Yep, the 23-year-old Frenchman was 3-down with six to play, then he was 2-down with two to play, and he managed to battle back and put up a heck of a fight, taking Jason Day to 23 holes.

Well, the video above isn’t exactly his short game, but he did hole a 13-footer for birdie on no. 17 to stay alive.  

Dubuisson drove it in the fairway bunker on no. 17. From 177 yards, he couldn’t have hit a more perfect shot to 13 feet, and naturally, he rolled in the putt for birdie to take the match to the 18th.

He knocked his approach on the par-4 finishing hole into the bunker left of the green — it was a very difficult shot, with the green sloping away from him toward the pin. No problem for Dubuisson, who had showed off his incredible touch all week. He hit a beautiful sand shot and landed it perfectly just short of the ridge and let it roll gently down the hill to four feet. Once again, he drained the putt to save par, while Day three-putted from the back of the green.

Dubuisson and Day were back to all square and moved on to extra holes, starting with the par-4 no. 1. Now, this is where things got really cray-cray.

V-Dubs flew the green with his approach shot into the desert. His ball was nestled against one of those nasty jumping chollas. It looked like he would have no choice but to take an unplayable. Some players might have, but not Dubuisson, who hit what was probably the most incredible chip shot I’ve ever seen in my life (at least in person) to about four feet. He made the putt to save par (which, again, was likely the greatest up-and-down I’ve witnessed). It was such an amazing save that there needs to be a plaque enshrined from the spot in the desert.

On the second extra hole, the par-4 9th, Dubuisson pulled his approach way left into the desert again, while Day was safely on the back fringe and putting for birdie. Now there was no way Dubuisson would pull off another miraculous save under the gun in back-to-back holes, right? Oh, yes. I’m not sure which was more incredible. This time, he was in the brittle with his ball under some branches.

He quickly took his stance and punched it out, letting it trickle to about eight feet from the pin. Unreal. And, of course, he rolled in the putt like it was no big deal. Just watch:

Just ridiculous! Who else picked their jaw up from the ground? Dubuisson certainly made it hard for Day to keep his composure.

“It was very difficult because in the moment you’re just thinking, oh, yes, I’ve got it,” said Day in his post-win presser. “I’ve hit an 8-iron on — well, my bunker shot on 1 wasn’t that hard, really.  I just made it look harder than what it was.

“But after he hit that shot out of the cactus on 1, it made my shot a lot harder.  I was surprised because I’m like, okay, (David) Feherty walked past and goes, He’s got an unplayable.  And I’m going, Oh, great.  That’s perfect.

“After we both walked off the green, (Feherty) looked at me and he goes, Sorry. I’m like, Yeah, thanks, man.  I appreciate that.

“And then on 9, because he hit it in the exact same spot on 9 today in regulation and particularly  in particularly the same spot.  He didn’t have to take a drop.  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. I’m like, Yes.

“I hit 8-iron to 20 feet.  There was so much pressure on him.  And he does it again.  At that time you’re just thinking like do I need to just hand him the trophy now after those two shots?”

Dubuisson, who was down for most of the match, just went for broke.

“Those two shots were amazing,” said Dubuisson. “I just played it like I had nothing to lose.  On the first playoff hole, I was a little bit surprised it ended up in the desert.  It was a great shot, but then I made two very good ups and downs.”

Dubuisson eventually ran out of shots and luck and lost to Day on the 23rd hole, but it was truly impressive that he even made it that far.

His Seve-like shots certainly got under Day’s skin.

“Why won’t this guy go away?” said Day when asked what he was thinking when Victor made those incredible saves from the desert. “I’m trying my hardest to win this tournament and he won’t go away.”

Dubuisson lost the tournament, but not without a hell of a fight.

“I’ve learned that my nerves, like my mental game can be very solid in a difficult situation,” he said. “I’ve learned that anything can happen.”

It’s tough for there to be a “loser” after seeing such a well-fought match between two tough competitors.

On the bright side, Dubuisson earned enough money to secure Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the 2013-14 season, allowing him an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions.

After today’s wonderful performance, Victor Dubuisson has made quite the impression in the U.S. and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more of him for many years to come.