Golf: Australia lauds 'great Day' after PGA win

SYDNEY - Australians and golfing fans were celebrating Monday after Jason Day finally picked up his first major championship, with a record-smashing 20-under par at Whistling Straits.

Day held off Jordan Spieth to clinch the PGA Championship on Sunday with a five-under 67 to bring his total for the tournament to 268 - the lowest winning score in relation to par ever in a major championship.

"It's a great day - excuse the pun - for Jason, for Australian golf and for Australian golfers," declared PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn.

He said Day's emotion at the win, which had one commentator hoping the 27-year-old could see through his tears for the final shot, would have been a moment of relief and joy.

"He's been chasing this for a long, long time and I think to have gone so close on so many occasions, nailing one was his priority and he's done that," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Day is the first Australian to win a major since Adam Scott picked up the 2013 Masters and only the fifth to win the PGA Championship after Steve Elkington (1995), Wayne Grady (1990), David Graham (1979) and Jim Ferrier (1947).

Sunday's victory was his eighth top-10 finish of the season and the fourth in his last five starts.

The success of Day, whose father died when he was 12 and who earlier this year suffered a bout of vertigo, was lauded by Australian sporting greats.

"Congratulations to my fellow #Queenslander and #Australian," tweeted golfing legend Greg Norman, himself a major winner.

Veteran tennis star Lleyton Hewitt tweeted that Day was a "great bloke and a great Australian!" while former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber said: "Cracking win... Grafter and humble. Congratulations. #classact".

Former world number one Tiger Woods sent his praise to Day and Spieth, taking to social media to say: "Game over, very happy for Jason. Great dude and well deserved. Hats off to Jordan, incredible season." And Rory McIlroy wrote that "2 inevitable things happened today, @JDayGolf winning a major and @JordanSpieth getting to 1 in the world! Congrats guys!! Inspiring stuff!" Day's mother Dening said she watched her son's progress via the PGA website because she was at work but was extremely excited at his long-awaited win.

"I am so proud of him. It has been a long time coming for him and he has worked so hard," she said.

Day will rise from fifth to a career-high number three in the world, but most importantly for the Australian, he has shed the tag of one of the best players never to win a major.