- Cabrera and Snedeker both card 69 to lead the chasing pack by one on -7
- Tiger Woods still in the hunt despite a two-shot penalty incurred from yesterday
- McIlroy haunted again during miserable 79
Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker emerged on top after an exhaustive and challenging third round at the Masters. The Argentine, 43, claimed the title in 2009 and found inspiration again to fuel his bid for a second Masters and third major. Snedeker, on the other hand, does not share in the same rosy-tinted memories due to his collapse in 2008. Still a young gun on the tour, Snedeker lead in the final round of the year’s first major only to implode and drop 8 shots in 16 holes, reducing him to a quivering wreck in the process. A more experienced and decorated competitor now- having pipped Rory McIlroy to the coveted FedEx Cup in 2012- Snedeker exuded the determination and hunger necessary to grab the Green Jacket by the scruff of the neck. “I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow and it’s all been a learning process.” Snedeker remarked after signing for one of only a handful of rounds in the 60s during Saturday’s play.
“I’m not here to get a good finish. I’m not here to finish top five. I’m here to win and that’s all I’m going to be focused on. I realise what I have to do to do that and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happens…I have a completely clear focus of what I need to do tomorrow. I have a clear set of goals that I need to hit. If I manage to do that, I have a chance to win this tournament” were the determined words of a steely competitor after a tough day on the course, mentally preparing himself for an even sterner examination on Sunday.
Angel Cabrera donned the Green Jacket in 2009, defeating American duo Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry in a play-off. At 43, with a US Open also to his name, the Argentine is well-versed in dramatic major moments on a Sunday. Sometimes in golf, a course just suits a players eye. It instils in him a sense of confidence and purpose, whilst filling him with a welcoming comfort. Cabrera and Augusta are a prime example of this theory. He wooed the crowds today with his languidly relaxed style and booming drives, but also portraying an alien sense of calm on a day when the greens induced headaches for the most skilled putters. In 2009, I was nervous, anxious,” said Cabrera. “But now I’m very comfortable. I know what I’ve got to do to be able to get the win.” He putted well, maintaining a nice feel for the pace of the greens throughout his 18 holes. His resilience is also to be admired, finishing strongly with birdies on both 16 and 18 to vault himself to the top of the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods’ day started with problems. Having been informed that he may have transgressed a rule by dropping his ball on the 15th two yards behind the original position of his ball, he was summoned to a meeting with Augusta officials at 8am, who penalised the world no.1 with a two-stroke penalty. Starting his round 5 shots off the pace, Woods quickly recovered the two penalised shots on the opening two holes. For most of his round, Woods struggled to get near the leaders, but he formed a mini-charge on the back nine with birdies at 12 and 13 to keep him in contention. Woods has never won any of his 14 major championships trailing heading into the final round but hopes to make a first and claim a fifth Masters jacket and believes that he is “right there in the ball game” to do so. Woods knows Augusta as well as anyone, more importantly he knows how to conquer it on a Sunday and will stride through the fairways in his famous red attire tomorrow hoping to string birdies together to invoke fear on the leaders.
The player Woods has been grabbing headlines away from recently is McIlroy and he is one man who will not grace the giant leaderboards that tower around Augusta tomorrow. Shades of 2011 appeared prominently in the Northern Irishman’s miserable 79. He had started promisingly and reached -3, but he found the water twice and missed short putts on his way to finishing the round on +5, completely out of the picture. The 23-year old looked out of sorts on the back nine, the setting for the worst hour of his professional career back in 2011. The form he had picked up last week in a runner-up finish in Texas evaporated and he is now left to lament on another disappointing week at the Masters.
MASTERS – THIRD-ROUND LEADERBOARD (US UNLESS STATED)
-7: B Snedeker, A Cabrera (Arg)
-6: A Scott (Aus)
-5: M Leishman (Aus), J Day (Aus)
-4: M Kuchar
Selected: -3: T Woods
-2: B Langer (Ger), L Westwood (Eng)
-1: S Garcia (Spa)
Level: J Rose (Eng)
+2: L Donald (Eng)
+5: R McIlroy (NI), P Lawrie (Sco)
+8: P Mickelson (US)