08 Nov 2020 | Professional golf |

Day has shot at breaking drought

by Martin Blake

Jason Day Houston image
Jason Day acknowledges applause for his birdie at No. 16 today. Photo: Getty

More than two years after his last win, Jason Day has again put himself in contention to break that personal drought a few days out from the Masters.

Day, 32, today shot a third-round 67 at Memorial Park to be tied-second, a shot from the lead entering the final round of the Houston Open in Texas.

A three-putt bogey at the final hole cost him a share of the lead, but he has played some of his best golf this week, despite admitting that he is tinkering with swing changes aimed at protecting his chronic back injury.

Day, whose world ranking is at No. 43, had his most recent win at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina back in May, 2018.

He has undergone some turmoil since then, including a full split from coach and mentor Col Swatton, and an assortment of caddie changes.

Day had five birdies for the day and two bogeys – the one at the 18th and another at the second where he failed to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker. His most inexplicable error came at the last, where he had a six-metre birdie putt for the outright lead. Day burned the hole with the putt but ran it two metres past the cup and missed the par putt coming back.

"Obviously you'd like to hole that one, which I was trying to; unfortunately I just gave it a little bit too much gas," he said. "Overall it was a solid day. I think I drove it nice, hit a lot of good iron shots and I was just very patient out there today, so it was good to see. Looking forward to tomorrow."

He has shot rounds of 67-68-67 to be eight under par, a shot behind Sam Burns of the US, who started and ended the day in the lead.

Alas not all the Australians fired on the day; Adam Scott started out in the mix but had two double bogeys with reloads off the tee in his third-round 74, and dropped out of contention. Both Day and Scott – who has recovered from Covid-19 – are using the Houston event as a warm-up for the Masters next week, where they both have outstanding records.

Day was runner-up there on debut in 2011 and has had three top-10 finishes at Augusta National since, including T5 last year behind Tiger Woods.

The Australian said he remained "between patterns" with his swing changes, although he is making progress. "I'm just not really pleased with it. It's just a work in progress, I've got to be patient with it. Right now I'm in contention, I'm one back going into tomorrow's round, so it's positive in regards to how I feel like I'm playing. I think the golf swing is holding up quite nicely and the body is, too."

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