Cabrera Grabs Lead At Masters

by
Reuters
Argentina's Angel Cabrera snatched the outright lead midway through the third round at the Masters on Saturday as Tiger Woods struggled to stay in touch with the frontrunners.

Angel Cabrera

Argentina's Angel Cabrera snatched the outright lead midway through the third round at the Masters on Saturday as Tiger Woods struggled to stay in touch with the frontrunners.

Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion, put himself in contention for a second green jacket when he made four birdies in eight holes to reach seven under after the 11th.

That gave him a one shot lead over Australia's Jason Day, who had led by a stroke overnight but failed to make any improvement on Saturday when he parred his first 10 holes.

With the final pairings just starting out on the back nine, American Matt Kuchar set the clubhouse lead at four-under when he signed for a 69.

The conditions at Augusta National were ideal in the first part of the day but became treacherous in the afternoon as the wind picked up and the lightning fast greens started to harden.

TIGER PENALIZED

Woods was tied for 10th at two-under with four holes to play after tournament officials used their discretionary powers to allow him to remain in the championship.

The world number one could have been disqualified for an illegal drop in his previous round but the Masters competition committee took a lenient approach, slapping him instead with a two-shot penalty.

"I understand and accept the penalty and respect the committee's decision," Woods said in a statement before heading out to the practice range at Augusta National.

The decision not to disqualify Woods triggered an instant debate around the golfing world, with players and fans divided over whether he had got off lightly or should have withdrawn himself.

For the players on the course, it was business as usual as they tried to make up ground on what is traditionally known as moving day.

Cabrera joined Day at six under when he birdied the par-5 eighth hole then grabbed the outright lead when he drained a long birdie putt at the 10th, eliciting a mighty roar from the massive galleries.

Australia's Marc Leishman also had a share of the lead but fell back to five-under when he bogeyed the 11th, the first leg of Amen Corner, when he stuck his approach in Rae's Creek.

Veteran American Fred Couples started the day a shot behind but lost touch when he made a double-bogey on the seventh while Rory McIlroy's charge faded when he made a triple bogey on the 11th.

The defending champion, American left-hander Bubba Watson, made six birdies in his round of 70, but handed back four shots with a pair of bogeys and a double to finish the day at two-over.

"I had to shoot a real low one tomorrow to have a chance," said Watson.

"But I will come out tomorrow and just enjoy the walk as my last day as defending champ and try to shoot a decent number."

South Africa's Tim Clark, the 2006 Masters runner-up, made the most of the perfect early conditions to shoot a 67, the best score of the day, to enter the clubhouse at three under.

"I don't think I'm going to be that far back to be honest," he said. "Obviously it all depends what the other guys do but it is firming up out there."