Day leads Melbourne World Cup as McDowell in contention

Day leads Melbourne World Cup as McDowell in contention
Graeme McDowell tees off on the 12th yesterday. Pic: AP

Australia’s Jason Day shot to the individual lead of the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne, as he eyes the lucrative prize on offer.

Day shot a third-round five-under 66, to catapult himself to nine-under overall and the outright lead – one clear of Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who could only card an even-par 71 today.

The local hopeful, Day is chasing the US 1.2million prize for first in the individual competition, while he might also help Australia win the World Cup alongside Adam Scott – as together they lead the team competition at 11 under.

The United States are second on 10 under, with Matt Kuchar in third place and Kevin Streelman in fifth.

Kuchar is six under overall, while Streelman fell off the pace with a three-over third round to leave himself on four under.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari is fourth, after his five-under 66 took him to five under overall.

The team competition is a two-horse race, with Japan well back in third spot at four under with Hideto Tanihara in a tie for sixth and compatriot Ryo Ishikawa equal 12th.

Tanihara joins Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell on three under, after the latter carded a solid four-under 67 to keep alive his hopes of individual glory.

Scott continued his comeback after his horror-show opening-round 75, carding his second straight two-under 68 to be three-under overall and within striking distance.

Tied with Scott are lesser lights Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Stuart Manley from Wales and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos, although Manley was arguably the story of the day on Saturday.

The Welshman is playing solo at the tournament after European Tour star Jamie Donaldson withdrew from the event, and Manley had a day to remember.

While history will remember the round as a one-over 72, Manley began in a flurry – carding back-to-back birdies before a hole-in-one on the third had him thinking he had won a Mercedes.

However, Manley was told the car was not his – with the prize on offer only for aces in Sunday’s final round – and his reaction was reflected in his next hole, when he carded an 11 on the par-four fourth.

Manley then went even par on his next four holes, before excelling again at holes 14 and 15, going birdie-eagle.

However, he did finish on a bogey on the par-four 18th to wrap up an eventful day, but Manley was officially denied an appeal to give the 34-year-old a car regardless.

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