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Day slips back in Hawaii PGA Tour event

AAP logoAAP 8/01/2017 Evin Priest

Jason Day of Australia © Stan Badz/PGA TOUR Jason Day of Australia Jason Day struggled with a misfiring putter as he slipped away from the leaders in the third round of the Tournament of Champions in Maui.

World No.1 Day battled to a three-under-par 70 at Kapalua's Plantation course and, after starting the day five from the lead, he ended it eight strokes behind front-runner Justin Thomas.

American Thomas fired a 67 to move to 18-under, with a two-shot lead over Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (66), who has won four of his last five tournaments and looms threateningly going into the final round.

Two shots behind world No.6 Matsuyama, in a three-way tie for third at 14 under are American trio William McGirt (66), Jimmy Walker (70) and Ryan Moore (71).

Playing his first tournament in three months, 29-year-old Australian Day went on an early roll with three consecutive birdies from the par-4 fourth.

Picking up another shot at the reachable par-5 ninth, the Queenslander made the turn at four under.

But back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14 cruelled Day's momentum and he made only one birdie coming home.

He remained the leading Australian in the 32-man field at the tournament for last year's tour winners, with veteran Rod Pampling's 72 putting him at seven under, in a share of 20th.

Greg Chalmers (70) is a shot back and tied 24th, while Aaron Baddeley (74) is well back at two under.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth started moving day horribly with a double bogey at the second hole, but bounced back to sign for a 70 at eight under.

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