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Day will sleep on edge of contention after third-round 66

Jun 18, 2016; Oakmont, PA, USA; Jason Day hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2016; Oakmont, PA, USA; Jason Day hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A hot start and a back-nine eagle pushed Jason Day 37 spots up the leaderboard and into contention in the third round at the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Almost as rewarding, he will be able to sleep in on Sunday while most of his rivals are up before dawn to finish the round.

Day posted 66 for a one-over 211 total, moving into a tie for eighth after he began the third round nine shots off the lead in a tie for 45th at Oakmont.

Day is six shots behind leader Shane Lowry of Ireland, who has four holes remaining in his third round after play was suspended due to darkness with 25 players yet to complete the round.

It is not lost on Day that six of the seven players in front of him on the leaderboard will not have the luxury of a leisurely Sunday morning.

“They're going to be waking up around 5:00 to play the rest of their holes,” the world number one told reporters.

“It's going to be warm tomorrow and (to) then have to come back and play 18 holes in the afternoon, it may be physically and mentally a little bit tougher on those guys."

Day began his third round at the 10th hole and made four birdies in his first five holes.

Later, he fired a 260-yard six-iron approach shot to the back of the green at the par-five fourth and drained the eagle putt.

The reigning PGA Championship winner is well aware the seven players in front of him have not won a major.

“If they want to go out there and they think they're ready to win a major, then it's obviously going to be tougher because they're going to be focused and ready,” Day said.

"It's good to have a major under my belt, but I'm just trying to win the tournament. That's all I want to do.

"I think I've given myself an opportunity getting there. We'll see how those guys go in the morning and hopefully, I'll be there."

(Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)

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