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Day claims World Cup of Golf lead

6:52 AM, Nov 23, 2013   |    comments
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Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Jason Day birdied three of his last six holes on Saturday to close out a 5-under 66 and claim a 1-stroke lead at the World Cup of Golf.

Day, who is seeking his first win since the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship, finished three rounds at Royal Melbourne Golf Club at 9-under-par 204.

"The green speed wasn't as fast as yesterday, especially through 16, 17 and 18," Day said in a televised interview. "I liked how the course was set up. I think the guys did a good job doing that and very excited how I played today."

Second-round leader Thomas Bjorn managed just an even-par 71 during his third round to sit in second place at 8-under 205.

Matt Kuchar (68) is in third at 6-under, while Francesco Molinari (66) owns fourth at minus-5 and Kevin Streelman (74) is fifth at 4-under.

Graeme McDowell (67) and Hideto Tanihara (71) share sixth place at 3-under 210.

Day's move to the top of the leaderboard caused Australia to jump ahead of the United States for the lead in the team portion of the competition with a combined score of 11-under-par 415. The American team of Streelman and Kuchar sit a shot back at 10-under.

Bjorn entered the day with a 1-stroke lead over Streelman and quickly added to his advantage with a birdie at the first, moving him to 9-under.

Stuart Manley then joined Streelman in second as he opened his round with back-to-back birdies at the first and second before recording a hole-in-one at the third.

Manley, however, followed that fast start with an 11 at the par-4 fourth to fall all the way to even-par and hand Day, who birdied the first and second to reach minus-6, second place. Streelman had bogeyed the second and fourth around a double-bogey 5 at the third to lose his share of second.

Day would bogey the fifth to drop to minus-5 and into a tie with Molinari, Kuchar, Tanihara and Ricardo Santos, handing Bjorn a 4-stroke lead.

Bjorn then dropped a shot at the seventh to cut his advantage to three before Day pulled ahead of the pack with a birdie at the ninth to claim sole possession of second place.

Day later moved within a stroke of the lead with a birdie at the 13th, and was handed a share of first place when Bjorn bogeyed the par-3 14th after finding a greenside bunker with his tee shot.

Day briefly pulled ahead with a birdie at the 15th from about 15 feet, but Bjorn answered with a lengthy birdie putt of his own at the 16th to meet the Australian at 8-under.

The tie was shortlived, however, as Day regained the outright lead with a birdie at the 17th. He would 2-putt for par at the last to finish at 9-under.

"I got off to a good start with two birdies, but during the middle of my round it started to get away a little bit," said Day. "I just stayed patient, just let it happen and coming home I holed a lot of good putts."

Bjorn followed with the final group of the day and found trouble when his second shot came up short of the green and landed in a bunker, but he nearly holed his next shot and tapped in for par to remain a shot off the pace.

NOTES: Day is teamed with Adam Scott, who shot 68 on Saturday and sits in a tie for eighth place at 2-under-par 211 ... The tournament consists of 60 players representing 34 different countries based on the Official World Golf Ranking. The top two players from each country are teamed up and their scores are combined to account for their team score ... Kuchar won the team event with Gary Woodland the last time this tournament was contested in 2011.

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