Jason Day is happy to play the spoiler role as he bids to complete a brilliant bounce back from British Open heartache with victory at the Canadian Open.
Day recovered from a mid-round stumble to birdie six of his last seven holes in a three-under-par 69 to surge to equal second with Bubba Watson at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Ontario.
Coming off a tie for fourth at St Andrews after missing the playoff by a shot, Day dropped three strokes with a bogey and double bogey on the par-4 10th and 11th holes before producing his withering finish to close to within two shots of home-town third-round leader David Hearn.
Hearn carded a 68 to be 15 under for the tournament as he strives to become the first Canadian to win their national championship in 61 years.
Pat Fletcher, born in England, was the last Canadian winner in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“It’s a dream to be in the final group tomorrow and I like the way I’m playing,” Hearn said.
“It’s been so long since a Canadian won and everyone wants to win their national championship, but it’s hard to win any tournament on the PGA Tour.
“If I could win tomorrow, it would be the highlight of my career.
“Hopefully I’ll make some birdies and David will beat Goliath, I guess.”
But he has proven winners nipping at his heels.
Day looked to be running out of steam following Monday’s finish to The Open and then making the mad dash across the Atlantic for Thursday’s start at Glen Abbey.
But he finished with a flurry, lipping out for eagle on the last.
“Obviously, it’d be great to see a Canadian win, but I’m going to do my best to try and spoil that,” Day said.
“We’re all out here to try and win a golf tournament.”
Watson, who finished the second round with two eagles on his last three holes, rolled in an 18-foot eagle putt at 13 and birdied the last on Saturday.
“I knew I had to make that putt on the last hole to get into the last group, so that was really big,” said Watson, who called himself “half-Canadian” because wife Angie is from Pickering. Brooks Koepka and Michael Putnam shared fourth place on 12 under 204, with Chad Campbell, Camilo Villegas, Jim Furyk, Emiliano Grillo and Johnson Wagner all one stroke further back.