Feeling at home on Pebble Beach’s difficult greens, Jason Day is well placed to end a 25-year drought for Australians at the US PGA Tour’s celebrity pro am event.
Making a whopping 140 feet of putts during a windy day three, Day booked another final-round chance to earn his first victory on California’s famed Monterey Peninsula.
Day posted a three-under-par 69 to finish at 12 under to be just two shots back of 54-hole co-leaders Dustin Johnson (70) and Ted Potter jnr, who flirted with a 59 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club but settled for a 62.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, whose 70 elevated him to seven under, wasn’t born the last time an Australian won the Pebble Beach Pro Am - when Brett Ogle took out the 1993 edition.
The former world No.1 has had no trouble reading the bumpy poa annua greens across the Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey courses, ranking second in the field for putting.
‘‘I’m not sure (the reason for the drought); maybe because Aussies typically like firm and fast greens but you don’t get that here,’’ Day said.
In his previous eight starts at Pebble Beach, Day has recorded four top-six finishes.
The Queenslander blew the 36-hole lead at last year’s event but a 42-foot birdie bomb on his 17th hole on Saturday ensured a chance to atone.
Having already bagged a PGA Tour win this year, 30-year-old Day says it’s the most relaxed he’s felt going into a Sunday at Pebble Beach.
‘‘Coming off a good win at Torrey Pines gives (me) a bit more patience; I don’t feel I need to force anything and just let things unfold,’’ he said.
Aaron Baddeley is next best of the Australians at four under after a 72, while countryman Rod Pampling (70) made the 54-hole cut on the number at three under.
A host of their compatriots made early exits, including Cameron Percy (75, two under), Greg Chalmers (71, one over), Adam Scott (70), Stuart Appleby (73) and Cam Davis (72) at two over, and Matt Jones (73, five over).