14 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |

Day makes his case at Pebble Beach

by Martin Blake

Jason Day Pebble r3 image
In position: Jason Day driving on the 13th hole at Pebble today. Photo: Getty

Jason Day moved ever-so-quietly into contention at the US PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am today as he chases his first win in almost three years. Day, the former world No. 1, shot an excellent 68, four under par at Pebble today that left him just three shots from the lead entering the final round. Deploying a remodelled swing that he has introduced to protect his chronic back, the Australian rolled in four birdies at the first, fourth, sixth, 11th and 15th holes. His only shot given back to par came at the par-four 12th, where he missed the green right and failed to get up-and-down. He is at 10 under par overall.

Day's last tournament win came in May 2018 at the Wells Fargo Championship, although he did win a Skins Challenge in Japan in 2019. Since then he has parted ways with his longtime coach and mentor Col Swatton and employed Chris Como, a former instructor of Tiger Woods, to change his swing and protect his body. This week he said that his back had troubled him so much that he was "hoping to get to 35" (years old as a player). He is 33 now. Another Australian, veteran Cam Percy, was within sight of the lead when he trickled his curling birdie putt in on the par-four 10th hole, but the Victorian gave back a bunch of shots afterward and ended up shooting a 73 that saw him drop to six under par and likely out of the running.

Another former world No. 1, Jordan Spieth, has the lead at 13 under par through three rounds, having holed out with an eight iron for eagle from 145 metres at the 16th hole to highlight his day. He will begin the final round with a two-shot buffer as he seeks his first win since 2017 and an end to his own personal drought.

Day was happy to be back where he belongs, in contention. "It's always nice to be in contention especially on any given Sunday," he said afterward. "I've had good experiences here in the past, I've had good finishes, tomorrow's going to be a great day weather-wise. "I just enjoy walking the golf course here, it's beautiful from the first tee to the last and I just got to keep my head down and move forward."

Tomorrow, he said, he needed to tidy up one specific area. "I've just got to hit my irons better, just plain and simple, I just haven't hit my irons as well as I had the last previous couple weeks. So if I can do that and keep the putter going then I might give myself a shot. I feel good about the game, I just got to give myself more opportunities."

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