BEING first out and with a marker had its advantages for Jason Day - a quick round.
Day shot his best score of the week in stunning conditions at Augusta to claw back some ground although victory is still looking highly unlikely.
Out first for the day, and with member Jeff Knox as his marker after an odd number (53) made the cut, Day overcame some early shakes to sizzle from the sixth hole when he put a stunning tee shot to tap-in birdie range.
More precise approach play followed but the world number three couldn't make a putt, until a stellar set on the back nine.
Day, who played the back nine in five-over 41 in the second round, made four straight birdies on holes 12 to 15 and just missed a massive putt for two on the par 3 16th.
The Queenslander had to punch out of the left-hand trees on 17 and made bogey, but came up the last with par to sign for a 69, his best round of the week by five shots to sit in the clubhouse at three-over.
Day is no stranger to fast play, having gone around on his own one year ago at the John Deere Classic, and he was so quick he got a trophy.
"One hour and fifty five. It's quick around there," the Aussie said.
"They gave me a plaque, a picture saying, "Nothing runs like a Day," so I mean it was good. It was an hour and fifty five I finished and I shot 72. I was pretty proud."
The world No.3 was very pleased with his resurgence.
"I think that I feel like I actually can play golf again, which is great, when I play like that," he said.
"I kind of let things go a little bit in the middle part of my round with not really capitalising on the opportunities I had - seven and eight especially. But for the most part, birdies on 12 through 15 was pretty good.
"Hitting that shot up through the trees on 15 was pretty good as well. I didn't have much room there, but I hit a great shot there.
"But, yeah, the course is getting pretty difficult out there. Not with regards to the actual shots itself into the greens, but more so once you get on the greens, they're starting to become a lot firmer and faster and you have to have really, really nice touch because pin locations are tough."
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