Date: June 19, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes, Oakmont

Day storms into Open contention

Jason day has stormed into US Open contention with a barnstorming third round at Oakmont.

After hanging tough just to make the cut earlier in the day with three pars to finish just one inside the “go-home” mark, the world No.1 unleashed a furious afternoon rally to finish within six shots of the lead.

Day’s imperious 66 was sparked by a run of four birdies in his first five holes and after starting on the 10th.

He had a glorious chance to go five under but missed a short birdie try on the 17th, but this was offset by superb par-saving putts on the 16th, 18th and 1st holes to keep the momentum flowing.

He stumbled with three putts for a bogey from the front of the third green, but immediately hit back with an overpowering eagle on the 564m par-five fourth hole.

At one point he reached five-under for the day before a poor drive at the seventh cost him a bogey. At one-over par overall, he is within striking distance of the leaders, headed by Ireland's Shane Lowry at five under through 14 holes of his third round. But Lowry needs to return early tomorrow to complete his third round while Day can relax and focus on his final round.

Of those players who have completed 54 holes, South Africa's Branden Grace (one under) is the best, followed by Day.

It was a remarkable turnaround from a day earlier when the Queenslander opened with his equal worst US Open score – a 76 in round one.

He’d had just two birdies in his opening 28 holes, but found an extra gear befitting the world’s best player when he needed it most.

Three other Aussies also made the cut, but didn’t follow their compatriot’s lead.

Adam Scott was at two over through 17 holes when daylight ran out on a marathon day three with the tournament almost caught up after losing more than eight hours to rain on Thursday.

Playing alongside Scott, Marc Leishman just couldn’t repeat his earlier consistency and stumbled without a birdie all the way back to seven over.

Queenslander Cam Smith had a rollercoaster run with five birdies offset by four bogeys and will resume on hole eight, his 17th, at  five over overall.

Geoff Ogilvy, Aron Price and Steve Bowditch missed the six-over cut earlier in the day.