Day overcomes water ball to take Masters lead

Jason Day waves after a birdie putt on the 16th green that moved him to 6 under at the Masters.

Jason Day waves after a birdie putt on the 16th green that moved him to 6 under at the Masters.

Jason Day looked to be yet another victim of Amen Corner after he put his tee ball in the water at the picturesque, par-3 12th hole.

Coming off a birdie at the difficult par-4 11th that gave him a share of the lead, it looked as though Day may slip away.

But an incredible bogey save at 12, followed by birdies at the par-5 13th and par-3 16th propelled Day to a 4-under 68 that left him with a one-shot lead over Fred Couples and Marc Leishman.

It was the second consecutive day an Australian held the lead at the Masters.

"I mean, had the right club (at No. 12). It just ‑‑ when I was going through impact, I just felt like the clubface was just slightly open. And as soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to stay out there. Unfortunately it just didn't have enough power to get over the water," said Day, who also held the lead in 2011.

"It was actually a very, very good up‑and‑down to get up‑and‑down there for bogey."

After a bogey at the par-3 4th hole, Day had birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 to begin his near six-hour journey to the top of the leaderboard. On a day when Tianlang Guan was penalized for slow play, the long rounds definitely tested Day's mettle.

"I'm just very, very tired," said Day, who will play with Fred Couples at 2:45 p.m. EDT. "We had almost a six‑hour round out there today and it was very, very difficult. It was a big grind out there."

As the leader, Day will have a bit of extra pressure, as no Australian has ever donned the Green Jacket on Sunday.

"If you look at it as pressure, you're going to worry about it more. If you look at it as a challenge and an opportunity to be the first and stay positive with it, you know, it only motivates you to play well.

"So I've just got to really not think about it at all. I really need to, like I said, stay committed to the game plan, stay aggressive to my target, and really aim small, miss small out there. Just not really worry about anything else but hitting the shot in front of me."

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