Jason Day hits a shot from a bunker on the fourth hole during the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday. Photo: Rick Rycroft/AP

SYDNEY – Jason Day ended a frustrating run of par golf by making three late birdies to snatch the outright lead after the third round of the 102nd Australian Open on Saturday.

The former world number one’s patience finally paid off when he made back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th holes after parring his first 13 holes.

He dropped a shot when he bogeyed his penultimate hole for the second day in a row, but birdied the last for a two-under-par 69 and a three-round total of 10-under 203.

Day will head into Sunday’s final round with a one-stroke lead over his fellow Australian Lucas Herbert, who carded an even-par 71 to finish at nine-under after leading overnight.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt charged up the leaderboard into a share of third place at seven-under after a flawless 66, and was joined by the 2015 Australian Open champion Matt Jones, who signed for a 68.

Australia’s Cameron Smith, who teamed up with Blixt to win this year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, was in fifth place at six-under after firing a third consecutive round of 69, 

Defending champion Jordan Spieth was tied for 17th – eight shots behind Day – after a 70.