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Despite stiff back and allergies, Jason Day only one back at Travelers Championship

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CROMWELL, Conn. – Despite allergies and a bad back, Jason Day could still earn his first PGA Tour win since 2018 at the Travelers Championship.

After Day took the 36-hole lead at TPC River Highlands, he shot a 70 on Saturday, but remains one shot back of the lead at 9 under.

One of the reasons Day still has a shot to win this tournament? Eye drops provided by his main competitor in Round 3.

"I'm just stiff," Day first said of his back. "I had allergies out there, too, so that wasn't good. I was on 14 and I needed some eye drops and Bubba [Watson] pulled them out of his pocket, so that was nice."

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Watson, who started the day one off the lead, finished the third round atop the leaderboard with Kramer Hickok at 10 under.

But Day's back wasn't the only thing stiff on Day 3, the standings were as well, with 16 players tied for the lead or within three shots entering the final frame. It might take another 63, like Day shot on Friday, to secure his 13th career PGA Tour win.

"I'm just going to see where I'm at," he said. "Obviously in among the leaders. I'm not going to try and change the game plan too much. Like I said before, the stiffness is not stopping me from hitting good golf shots. I'm hitting a lot of good-quality golf shots.

"I just didn't capitalize on the opportunities that I had today, which I did the first two days. Hopefully, they start falling in tomorrow."

Day said his back is only going to feel better moving forward, and with that, he notes there's more at stake than just his first win in over three years.

Day, once a world No. 1, fell out of the top 60 and failed to qualify for this year's U.S. Open. He enjoyed his time off, which included the birth of his fourth child, but said it killed him to watch his peers play at Torrey Pines without him. He’s in the field for The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s because of his 2015 PGA Championship win (since The Open was canceled last year). But that exemption runs dry after this year and he’s going to have to continue to earn his way into the biggest events.

"Definitely got to try and do something to get myself inside the top 50 so I can get back into the majors," Day said. "It's a pretty critical time for me. It's just hard to have an injury like this or not even an injury, but have a stiff back knowing that I have to go out and play.

"So I just got to suck it up and just do it."