It’s still a Day game.
Jason Day came back to earth a bit Saturday, shooting a 2-under-par 69 in the third round after starting 61-63 at the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest.
‘‘I made some silly errors, but it happens,’’ said Day, who completed 54 holes at 20-under 193. ‘‘I’m just happy that I shot 69. It feels like I shot 80 compared to the last two days, but I’m not disappointed. A little frustrated, but I’m not dis-
Day had built such a big lead with his record-tying score of 124 through 36 holes that he still leads by six shots heading into the final round Sunday. On a day when players struggled with an uncharacteristic north wind, he even expanded what had been a five-shot lead after two rounds.
‘‘This is the most difficult round we’ve had this week,’’ Day said. ‘‘It was very difficult to get anything going. But hitting one out of bounds and ending up shooting 69 is a pretty solid score.’’
After hitting his drive into someone’s backyard on the 13th hole, Day recovered to salvage a bogey. An errant 4-iron off the tee at the 302-yard 15th led to his fourth bogey in a round that also featured six birdies.
But Day, who hit only three fairways on the back nine, recovered to make a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th that he called the most important shot of his round.
‘‘That was not only a good confidence boost, it was a nice little surprise at the end of the day,’’ he said.
Scott Piercy (67) and Daniel Berger (70) are tied for second at 14 under.
‘‘This kid [Day] must be eating trophies for breakfast,’’ Piercy said. ‘‘If he shoots even par, I’ve got to shoot 6 under to beat him. If he shoots 1 under on each side, it’s
going to be tough.’’
Actually, Piercy would need to shoot a 7-under 64 to beat an even-par 71 by Day. But you get the idea.
Rory McIlory (67) is seven shots back, and Rickie Fowler (66), Dustin Johnson (68) and Kevin Na (70) are eight strokes off the pace.
‘‘You kind of have to look at Jason as an outlier,’’ Fowler said after shooting the lowest round of the day. ‘‘You don’t worry about him. There’s another tournament going on. He’s in control. If he happens to come back, we may have a chance. Other than that, we’ll see if [I] can take care of the rest of the guys and let Jason do what he does.’’
Day, who leads the FedEx Cup standings, is seeking his third victory in his last four starts and could ascend to No. 1 in the world rankings by the end of Sunday.
‘‘You’ve put some pressure on me,’’ he said. ‘‘No, I’m just kidding. When I first came out [on tour], I told everyone I wanted to become No. 1. It’s a lifelong dream. Everyone kind of laughed, and that’s OK. Now I’ve got an opportunity. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s round. It should be a lot of fun.’’
His philosophy is to keep looking for birdies.
‘‘Trying to extend the lead is the mindset,’’ Day said. ‘‘Trying to defend is no good. Extending the lead is much better. Because if you do falter, you’ll have a buffer. To have a six-shot lead and to lose would definitely suck.’’
With the threat of rain gone, the field will play in twosomes Sunday. The first group will go off at about 7:15 a.m. and the final group at 12:40 p.m.
The parking changes will remain in place Sunday. Shifting to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee are four lots: Public, BMW Owner, H Lot (hospitality) and preferred parking.
Site: Lake Forest.
Course: Conway Farms Golf Club (7,198 yards, par-71).
Television: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6 p.m.-midnight (Golf Channel); 1 p.m.-
5 p.m. (Ch. 5).
Follow me on Twitter @HerbGould.