Day stumbles in Wells Fargo Championship

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Jason Day's hopes of ending a PGA Tour drought have been dealt a significant blow after the Australian shot a nine-over par 79 in the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

The leader after 18 and 36 holes, Day's retooled swing couldn't hold up for a third straight day in shocking conditions at Potomac, Maryland.

He began struggling with his driver before it spilled over to the rest of his bag.

The 34-year-old found the same pond on consecutive holes - a driver that never crossed dry land on the par-4 fourth, leading to triple bogey, and a 3-wood that hooked violently on the fifth.

Day appeared to lose his grip on the club when he hit another hook into a water hazard with his second shot on the par-5 10th.

"Unfortunately I just didn't have my stuff today," Day said.

"I made a lot of errors out there and hitting into penalty areas. It's OK.

"I've just got to get back to it tomorrow and try and find some positives from the first two days going into tomorrow's round."

Winless on the PGA Tour since claiming the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship when it was held at Quail Hollow, the former world No.1 is seven shots off the leader Keegan Bradley.

Since the conditions got tougher, Bradley has been the best player at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

Bradley shot the lowest score for the second straight day, a three-under 67 that gave him a three-day total of eight-under 202 and a two-shot lead over Max Homa in British Open weather on a US Open-style course.

Bradley was one of four players to shoot in the 60s.

The scoring average was 73.7, the highest relative to par on the PGA Tour since the final round of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot.

Although he has only one win in the past nine years, the 35-year-old Bradley has been solid recently, with top-10 finishes in three of his past five events, including fifth at the Players Championship during another week of bad weather.

A win by Bradley would move him into the top 60 in the world, making him exempt for the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

"It's on my mind," he said. "I know what's at stake."

The day's second-best score belonged to Rory McIlroy, who made the cut on the number and played on the opposite side of the course from the leaders.

The highest-ranked player in the field at No.7, McIlroy bogeyed his first two holes, made four birdies before the turn and closed with nine straight pars for a 68 that moved him into a tie for sixth at two under.

"I think when you see conditions like this, you have to have a pretty upbeat attitude towards it and for me it was just grateful to be here," McIlroy said.

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