In the first flash of leader-board form in quite a while, Jason Day is poised to put his demons behind him after finishing the third round one shot off the lead in the PGA event.
Day carded a three-under par 67 to sit in a tie for second as he prepares for the US Masters.
He is eight-under for the tournament that is led by American Sam Burns who is chasing a maiden PGA Tour victory.
But for three-putting on the 18th, Day would have been level-pegging with Burns heading into the last 18 holes
Day has 12 Tour titles – the 2015 PGA Championship among them – but none since 2018 after winning eight times over a sparkling two-year stretch in 2015-16 to climb to No. 1.
Flummoxed by his long slump caused in part by ongoing back and neck issues, he decided to split with Colin Swatton, his coach and mentor since he was 12.
Day put himself in the mix at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas with a third-round 66 but took a triple bogey on the opening hole of the final round.
Then he pulled his approach from the right rough into the water. He called it a day after hitting two shots on the second hole, the first of which he also pulled badly.
Jason Day is having a weekend pic.twitter.com/bqcE3Zk4Mm
— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) November 7, 2020
Having intended to play every autumn tournament to prepare for next week’s delayed Masters, Day returned last week for the ZoZo Championship and finished in a tie for 60th-place.
While Day was finding his groove, Adam Scott slipped out of contention with a four-over par 74 in a round that included three double bogeys.He finished 10 shots adrift of of Burns.
Burns warmed to his task on Saturday after a sluggish start to his third round at Memorial Park.
The overnight leader failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-three second and then sprayed his second shot on the next hole across the green before missing a 3.7 metret par putt for another bogey.
He birdied the fourth and eagled the eighth with a fantastic chip from off the green, then ended an entertaining front nine with another bogey after once again finding the sand from the tee.
Another errant drive on the 11th dropped him back but he collected three birdies in four holes from the 13th as he recorded a 68.
World No.1 Dustin Johnson hovers menacingly on six under after a blemish-free 66.