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Jason Day swings into contention at PGA’s Phoenix Open

Looking to break a five-year drought, Jason Day is coming on strong in Texas.

Looking to break a five-year drought, Jason Day is coming on strong in Texas. Photo: AP

Australian golfer Jason Day’s recent return to form has placed him within striking distance of victory in the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.

The world’s former world No.1 is equal sixth place, four strokes behind Scottie Scheffler, who shot a three-under 68 in front of some 200,000 fans at TPC Scottsdale on Saturday to get to 13 under, two strokes ahead of world No.3 Jon Rahm and Nick Taylor.

Spanish star Rahm also had a 68, holing a curling 40-footer for birdie on the stadium 16th hole for his third birdie in four holes. American Taylor shot 67.

“To be in the final group with a two-shot lead, I believe, is definitely a position I want to be in. I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Day said, going on to explain that he has been working to correct his swing.

“I feel like some weeks the body is reacting perfectly to what I’m trying to do in regards to changing certain patterns in the golf swing,” Day said.

“It’s been really difficult to change the swing and compete out here.”

Fight for world #1

Scheffler would take the No.1 spot from Rory McIlroy – tied for 28th at three under after a 70 – with a victory, as long as McIlroy finishes worse than solo third.

Scheffler also could get to No.1 by finishing solo second if McIlroy is 36th or worse and Rahm doesn’t win.

“Something I talked about at the beginning of the week was I felt like I’ve been on the outside looking in on Sundays,” Scheffler said.

“To be in the final group with a two-shot lead, I believe, is definitely a position I want to be in. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Rahm would go to No.1 with a victory if McIlroy finishes worse than a three-way tie for second, or by finishing solo second if McIlroy finishes worse than solo 47th and Scheffler doesn’t win.

“Hopefully, tomorrow I can get off a better start, play a good front nine and go into that back nine with a solid chance of getting it done,” Rahm said.

Jordan Spieth and Adam Hadwin were at 10 under while Day was tied at nine under with Rickie Fowler, the 2019 winner, who had a 67,Tyrrell Hatton (67), Sungjae Im (67), and Xander Schauffele (70).

Speith had the best score in the delayed second round, finishing off a 63 in the morning. He added a 69 in the third round, highlighted by a 77-yard bunker shot to three feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 17th.

Last year, Scheffler beat Patrick Cantlay here in a playoff for his first PGA Tour title. Scheffler added victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Match Play and Masters and was the PGA Tour’s player of the year.

The 26-year-old Texan followed a bogey on the par-5 13th – his first bogey since his fourth hole Thursday – with a birdie on the par-4 14th, hitting a 210-yard shot to 4 feet. He also birdied the 17th.

-with AAP

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