Jason Day of Australia carded a third round of 66 to lead Jordan Spieth by two shots going into the final round of the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
In a rollercoaster third round, Day made an eagle, eight birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to move to 15-under-par through 54 holes. The Australian was flying at one point on Saturday after he reeled of six straight threes from the ninth to reach 16-under. But a double bogey at the 15th brought him back to reality. He did well to steady the ship, birdying the difficult 17th to finish two clear of Spieth.
“I played great all three rounds and I’ve just got to keep pushing forward, keep grinding it out the best I can and just give it 100 per cent tomorrow,” he said. “Overall I feel pretty confident in my abilities to really just keep moving forward and stay patient with myself.”
Jordan Spieth is looking to become only the third man to win three Major championships in a calendar year, the others being Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods. He has given himself a chance to do that with a brilliant third round of 65 that included a back nine of 30.
“When I think of this being the last major of the year, it’s a little bit of a sad feeling because I really thoroughly enjoy playing in majors,” he said. “You want to make the most of it because even though it has been a great year, we’ve won two this year. At the same time, when you look back on your career years and years from now, you may not remember exactly what happened within a year, but you’ll remember how many you’ve won and how many got away from you. So you look at it as a single major, as a chance to win this major, and in that there’s enough fight left in us to finish this one off, I believe.”
Jordan Spieth interview:
Branden Grace of Australia has pushed himself into contention again in a Major. His 64 was the lowest round of the day and included eight birdies and no dropped shots.
“I think I’m finally getting the hang of America,” said Grace, who finished joint fourth at the US Open at Chambers Bay. “This is a dream to play out here. I think I’ve been playing some great golf.
Grace is in a tie for third on 12-under-par alongside Justin Rose. The Englishman would have been better placed had it not been for a bogey at the last and a second consecutive double bogey on the fourth.
“The fourth has cost me a couple of doubles there, so if I can figure that one out tomorrow it will help,” he said. “The only thing that will taste a little sour is that bogey on 18. I hit a good tee shot and was staring down the barrel with a seven iron. I thought it was a good club and misjudged the wind and it came up short, but I was really pleased with the way I hung in there today. I can freewheel it a bit tomorrow. Obviously I have the luxury to not have to sleep on the lead and stress about anything.”
Rory McIlroy improved with a 68 but, at six-under-par, he looks to be too far back to mount a realistic challenge on Sunday on his return from an ankle injury.
“I want to improve again tomorrow,” he said. “If I do that, as a whole, the week would be somewhat of a success.”
USPGA Championship – Round 3
Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Aug 13-16, par 72, purse: $10,000,000
1 Jason Day (Aus) -15
2 Jordan Spieth (USA) -13
T3 Branden Grance (RSA) -12
T3 Justin Rose (Eng) -12
T6 Tony Finau (USA) -10
T6 Matt Jones (Aus) -10
T8 Dustin Johnson (USA) -9
T8 Anirban Lahiri (Ind) -9
T10 Matt Kuchar (USA) -8
T10 Billy Horschel (USA) -8
T10 J.B. Holmes (USA) -8
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage