Day claims share of British Open lead

Jason Day will carry the lead into the final round for the second straight major after headlining a banner day for Australian golfers at the British Open.

Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Steven Bowditch are also right in the mix to end Australia’s 22-year drought at golf’s oldest and grandest championship after a remarkable third round at St Andrews.

But the sporting world’s gaze will be on Day as he sets out in the second-last group on Monday with history-seeker Jordan Spieth, who sits just one stroke off the pace after ramping up his grand slam quest with an ominous six-under-par 66.

A month after defying vertigo to share the third-round lead with Spieth, American Dustin Johnson and South African Branden Grace, Day carded a bogey-free 67 to again be poised for his long-awaited major breakthrough.

Irish amateur Paul Dunne posted a nerveless 66 to join Day and South African Louis Oosthuizen (67) atop the leaderboard in the 22-year-old’s own audacious bid for history.

An amateur hasn’t won a major since Johnny Goodman at the 1933 US Open – or saluted at the British Open since Bobby Jones at Hoylake in 1930.

Dunne won’t be celebrating yet, though, as some 25 players remain within five strokes of the lead after a rare Sunday moving day at the home of golf.

As the world’s best golfers – sans injured world No.1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy – attacked the Old Course on a breathless afternoon, no less than 10 different players led the Open at various stages.

Bidding to join Ben Hogan as only the second man to win golf’s first three majors of the year, Spieth is outright fourth, one stroke ahead of Ireland’s former winner and Hall of Famer Padraig Harrington (65).

Spieth rattled in seven birdies to make his big move as Johnson relinquished his overnight advantage with another lamentable round in his latest attempt to break his major duck.

Johnson was among only six players of the 80 who made the halfway cut not to post a birdie on the front nine in the perfect scoring conditions and had to wait until the 15th hole to pick up a shot.

Alas three successive bogeys to finish his round left Johnson five back after a disastrous 75.

Scott is in a nine-way tie for sixth after taking a bogey on the perilous 17th road hole in an otherwise steady if unspectacular round of 70.

Leishman is also at nine under after earlier in the day almost firing the lowest round in British Open history, a magnificent 64.

Leishman’s eight-under return was just one shy of the best effort in 155 years of Open championships, a record jointly held by eight players including countryman Greg Norman, who posted a 63 when he lifted the Claret Jug for the first time at Turnberry in 1986.

Also at nine under on an extraordinarily congested and star-studded leaderboard are English pair Justin Rose (68) and Danny Willett (72), Spanish star Sergio Garcia (68), South African Retief Goosen (69), Americans Zach Johnson (70), Robert Streb (70).

Bowditch (69) is equal 15th with Englishman Eddie Pepperell (66) and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel (69) but rued successive bogeys late after briefly claiming a share of the lead.

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