PGA Tour

Top-ranked Day clings to share of WGC Akron lead

2016-07-03 06:56
jason day, golf, us open
Jason Day (Getty Images)

Washington - World number one Jason Day found only three fairways off the tee but battled to a one-under par 69 to share the lead after Saturday's third round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.

The 28-year-old Australian star, who defends his first major title later this month at the PGA Championship, stood on five-under par 205 after 54 holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

"I hit some pretty errant shots out there but my short game saved me," Day said. "I had to do something to save myself out there. I got into some trouble."

Level with Day atop the leaderboard was US Open runner-up Scott Piercy of the United States, who shot 67 Saturday.

"The putter hasn't quite shown up yet," Piercy said. "If I'm putting solid and keep driving well, I've got a good chance."

Day, seeking his fourth title of the year and 11th US PGA trophy of his career, found plenty of negatives to his round but one very big positive to focus upon.

"I'm still tied for the lead and I haven't hit the golf ball that well this week," Day said. "If I hit the ball decently and give myself a chance on the greens, I feel like I've got a good shot at winning tomorrow."

Day's wins this year came at the WGC Match Play, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship.

The Aussie opened with a 14-foot birdie and sank another from the same distance at the sixth hole, but gave back the shots with bogeys at the par-3 seventh, missing a six-foot par putt, and eight, leaving his approach shy of the green.

Day hung on down the stretch and took advantage of not missing a fairway on the par-3 15th, dropping a 35-foot birdie putt.

Piercy, seeking his fourth career PGA victory and the first since last July's Barbasol Championship, found the Firestone fairways easier to find than those at the US Open two weeks ago at Oakmont.

"Definitely after the Open, hitting these fairways doesn't seem quite as hard," said Piercy. "Making those fairways here is part of the confidence you gain. I played clean, solid and didn't have a lot of stress."

Piercy eagled the par-5 second hole, blasting out of a greenside bunker and into the cup from almost 50 feet away.

He put his approach inches from the cup at 11 to set up a birdie then made a 35-foot par-saving putt at 14 after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

Piercy dropped in a four-foot birdie putt at 17 before closing with his lone bogey of the day, finding the rough twice and a bunker to fall from sole possession of the lead.

Sweden's David Lingmerth was third on 206 after shooting 69 Saturday.

"It played tough," he said. "You've got to just hang on out there and give yourself some chances. Tomorrow will hopefully be better."

American Brian Stuard was fourth on 207 with last month's US Open winner Dustin Johnson and William McGirt of the United States and South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, sharing fifth on 208.

Read more on:    pga tour  |  jason day  |  golf

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