Top-ranked Aussie Day grabs WGC Akron lead

Australian Day, preparing for the British Open in two weeks and readying to defend his first major title in the PGA Championship at the end of the month, fired a one-under par 69 to stand on four-under 136 after 54 holes at the Firestone Country Club.

A stumble on 18 trimmed the lead to a single shot, Day missing the green with his approach and errant on a six-foot par putt.   -  AP

World number one Jason Day birdied two of the last three holes to seize a one-stroke lead over David Lingmerth after Friday’s second round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.

Australian Day, preparing for the British Open in two weeks and readying to defend his first major title in the PGA Championship at the end of the month, fired a one-under par 69 to stand on four-under 136 after 54 holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

Sweden’s Lingmerth was second on 137 with Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and Americans Scott Piercy and William McGirt on 138 and Australia’s Adam Scott joining world number two Jordan Spieth and fellow Americans Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas on 139.

Day sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-4 third hole and opened the back nine with a bogey, three-putting from 16 feet. But he took the lead late with a five-foot birdie putt at the par-5 16th and dropped a 16-footer for birdie from the fringe of the 17th green for a two-stroke edge.

A stumble on 18 trimmed the lead to a single shot, Day missing the green with his approach and errant on a six-foot par putt.

Lingmerth made an astonishing putting run on the front nine, sinking birdie putts of 22 feet at the par-5 second, 60 feet at the par-3 fifth, 18 feet at the par-4 eighth and 26 feet at the par-4 ninth.

But he found a bunker at 11 and missed a 15-foot par putt, answered with a 24-foot birdie putt at 13 only to falter at the finish, finding rough off the tee and coming up short of the green on his approach on the way to a bogey at 18.

“I was scrambling really good and a made a couple nice putts. I scored pretty well. Overall it was a nice day,” Lingmerth said. “I want to sort the swing out. It’s not far off but I want to strike it a little better over the weekend.”

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