AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera were tied for the lead after the third round of the Masters, a Saturday that will be remembered for Tiger Woods’ penalty.
Woods is four shots back and still in contention despite being docked two strokes for an improper drop in the second round. He actually caught a bit of a break, because he could have been disqualified for an erroneous scorecard.
Snedeker and Cabrera each shot 3-under 69 on a tough day for going low at Augusta National, the greens firming up in the sunny weather. They will play in the final group Sunday at 7-under 209.
“I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow,” said Snedeker, who will be seeking his first major title. “I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t win. Period. I’m not here to get a good finish. … I’m here to win.”
Cabrera always seems to come up big in the majors. His last two PGA or European tour wins came at the 2009 Masters and the 2007 U.S. Open. He’s in the mix again, despite coming into the week at No. 269 in the world rankings.
“I’m very comfortable,” the Argentine said through an interpreter. “I know what I’ve got to be able to do tomorrow to get the win.”
Adam Scott is one shot off the lead, hoping to become the first Australian to win a green jacket. If he doesn’t do it, there are two more of his countrymen, Jason Day and Marc Leishman, at 211. Day led most of the day and was positioned to be part of the first three-way tie going to the final round at Augusta since 1967. Then he bogeyed the last two holes.
Matt Kuchar was three strokes back, with Woods and Tim Clark at 213.
Woods shot a 70, shaking off the penalty he was assessed going out to the first tee.
At the end of the day, it could have been better. Or worse. At least he didn’t get DQed.
Augusta National gave Woods a reprieve, ruling the two-stroke penalty was proper because officials initially ruled he did nothing wrong after looking at a video replay of the drop.
Woods said it was the right decision, even though some fellow golfers called for him to withdraw.
“I’m abiding by the rules,” Woods said. “I made a mistake under the rules of golf. I took an improper drop, and I got the penalty.”
The ruling sure stirred up plenty of debate on social media. Some fellow golfers claimed Woods got special treatment and others noted it came one day after 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was penalized a stroke for slow play, nearly causing him to miss the cut.
“I think (Woods) should WD (withdraw). He took a drop to gain an advantage,” tweeted David Duval, once Woods’ top rival but not at Augusta this week.
Others said it was the right decision.
“I know he didn’t do anything malicious or was trying to gain an advantage or anything like that,” Nick Watney said. “I’m sure he feels terrible about it and I believe 100 percent that he didn’t do anything on purpose.”
Still in the game, Woods birdied the very first hole. He couldn’t keep the momentum going on the front nine, making the turn with an even-par 36 after a 2-foot try at the par-5 eighth spun all the way around the cup — and came out.
“I’ve never seen a horseshoe like,” Woods moaned.
But he made three birdies on the back side — including one at the hole that stirred up so much controversy the day before, the par-5 15th. Knocking a 5-iron over the water, he actually had a shot at eagle before tapping in for par. Nifty par saves at the last three holes left Woods in decent position going to the final round.
Clark made the biggest charge among the early players, shooting a 67 that left him tied with Woods.
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