Graeme McDowell carded an immaculate 67 to give himself an outside chance of catching home hero Jason Day in the final round of the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.
Bridging a six-shot gap in the final round will require a special score and help from those in front, but hard work on the range after Friday’s round appeared to help McDowell, who had birdies at the seventh, 11th, 12th and 15th.
The 42 year old Dane was still three strokes clear when he turned in 35, but by failing to break par on the way home Björn finished the day where he started it on eight under par, one shot behind Day.
The Australian had birdied the first hole from ten feet and two-putted the par five second for a further gain; but it was a 20-footer for birdie at the ninth hole which really ignited the 26 year old’s charge.
An approach to eight feet at the 13th hole and subsequent birdie putts of 20 and ten feet at the 15th and 17th holes respectively saw him come home in 33 to lead at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
“I got off to a good start and I stayed patient and just let it happen,” said Day. “On the way home I made a load of putts. I’m very excited with how I played today.
“On this sort of course you have to be patient; you can’t get to the point where the course is beating you up.”
With World No 2 Scott carding a 68 to get to two under, Australia lead defending champions America by one in the team competition.
“Scotty’s been playing great,” Day added. “It would be very fitting for us to bring it home at Royal Melbourne for all the people that have been here supporting us.”
Björn has all but conceded winning the team title after his fellow Dane Thorbjørn Olesen slumped to a round of 76, but he is firmly in contention to capture the lion’s share of the US$7 million prize fund allocated for the individual event.
He said: “I have played really, really well again today, but the putter just didn’t really do what it had to do. I am doing everything right and playing the golf course the way it should be played.
“It was disappointing the couple of mistakes I made, but in general I am in a good position and it’ll be good fun tomorrow.
“I’m up against a guy that we all know what he is capable of and I’ve got to go out and try and keep playing the same sort of golf that I have been playing for three days and hopefully roll a few putts in.”
Kuchar sits third on six under after a second consecutive 68, while Italy’s Francesco Molinari matched Day’s best-of-the-day 66 to move into fourth on five under.