Jason Day looms large in PGA Houston Open

·2-min read

Jason Day is in ominous form ahead of the US Masters after closing in on the lead at the Houston Open.

Day carded a three-under par 67 in the third round to sit in a tie for second - one stroke from the lead - as he prepares for the final major of the year.

He is eight-under for the tournament that is led by American Sam Burns who is chasing a maiden PGA Tour victory.

Day had five birdies and two bogeys.

"I was just trying to be as patient as possible," he said.

"I know it's a Saturday round. Obviously, can't win it today. You've got to just give yourself an opportunity to get into tomorrow's round."

But for three-putting on the 18th, Day would have been level-pegging with Burns heading into the last 18 holes.

"Unfortunately, I just gave (the putt) a little bit too much gas," the Australian star said.

"Overall, it was a solid day. I think I drove it nice, hit a lot of good iron shots and I was just very patient out there today, so it was good to see.

"Looking forward to tomorrow."

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 and called it a day after hitting two shots on the second hole.

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.

The 2013 US Masters winner will go into the final round 10 shots adrift of Burns.

Burns warmed to his task on Saturday after a sluggish start to his third round at Memorial Park.

World No.1 Dustin Johnson hovers menacingly on six under after a blemish-free 66.