Cabrera’s heart was the deciding factor at Augusta

April 12, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Years from now, people will say Kenny Perry lost the 2009 Masters by failing to par one of the last two holes in regulation and then making bogey on the 2nd hole of the playoff.

Some will even say Chad Campbell is as responsible for not winning as Perry – having missed the green on the first playoff hole from 155 yards and then missing a 4-footer to stay alive in sudden death.

But the real storyline on Sunday – with all due respect to the spectacular play from Mickelson and Woods – was the heart and grit displayed by the eventual champion, Angel Cabrera. 

To wit:  Cabrera’s pitch and putt for birdie at #15.  His 12-footer for birdie at #16 – a virtual must-make with Perry 10 inches from the hole.  His delicate downhill chip from behind the green at #17 to leave him 2-feet for par.  And then, at 18, knowing he had to make a 4-footer to get into the playoff, he drilled it.  20 minutes later, Cabrera faced another must-make putt at the first playoff hole, this time from a slightly different angle and two feet or so farther away — and he made that one as well.

And then, with Perry left of the green and in trouble at #10 (2nd playoff hole), Cabrera nailed the door shut with a superb 8-iron to 15 feet.  

Skill is one thing.

Heart, guts and grit is another.  And those chips, pitches and putts are as much about nerve control than ability.  

The will to win is sometimes the most important club in the bag.

Angel Cabrera has it in spades.

Today, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell didn’t have it when they needed it.

And Cabrera has now won 2 of the last 7 major championships and has as many majors as guys like Greg Norman, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Curtis Strange and one more than the likes of Couples, Love III, Pavin and Kite.

Cabrera’s an interesting player because he can win all over the world — and, as they say in tennis, “on any surface”.  He’s a player who’s patient enough to plod along at a U.S. Open venue.  And he’s skilled enough to play in the winds of a British Open.  Obviously, as he showed today, he can handle the tricky greens and deal with the treacherous short-game needs that Augusta champions must own.  

He’s not a one-trick pony, that’s for sure.

And now, he’s a lifetime participant at Augusta National.

 

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7:20 pm -

Kenny Perry just lost The Masters after having a 2-stroke lead with two holes to play.

He won’t get over this one for a long time.

Neither will Chad Campbell.

And they’re partying in Argentina tonight, as Angel Cabrera’s par at the second playoff hole has given him the title.

Don’t look now, but he’s won 2 of the last 6 major championships after capturing the ’07 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

 

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7:18 pm -

I think Kenny Perry’s second shot was affected by mud on his ball but we won’t know until after this concludes.

How else can you explain such a horrible miss?

Angel Cabrera is 15-feet underneath the hole and likely about 6 minutes away from his 2nd career major title.

 

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7:15 pm -

Of all the guys who didn’t win the ’09 Masters, Chad Campbell has to be the most disappointed.

He was -11 during Friday’s 2nd round and was ready to run away and hide.  

Instead, he merely hung around…and did enough to get into a playoff…but his miss from 4-feet at #18 on the first playoff hole marked the end of his green jacket dream.

Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera are both in the fairway at #10.

 

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7:10 pm -

Angel Cabrera’s 6-footer for par at #18 on the first playoff hole sends him on with Kenny Perry, who nearly holed his chip for birdie to win.  

Chad Campbell missed a 4-footer for par that sends him home.

And on we go.

Campbell won’t get over that 2nd shot on the playoff hole for a long time.

 

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7:05 pm -

Holy cow.

Kenny Perry missed the green from 156 yards.

Chad Campbell missed the green from 152 yards.

Angel Cabrera now has 6-feet for par after finding the trees off the tee…hitting one on his 2nd shot…and then knocking it close for his 3rd.

Right now, these three guys couldn’t win The Baltimore Spring Publinx.

 

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7:00 pm -

Angel Cabrera’s wayward tee-shot at the first playoff hole (18) might end his bid for a green jacket.

Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell have both found the fairway.

There’s probably only about 30 minutes of light remaining.

Maybe enough time for two more holes, if necessary.

 

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6:47 pm -

That 3-putt at #13 came back to haunt Kenny Perry after all.

Perry made bogey at #18, missing the winning putt by two inches…

And Angel Cabrera just slithered home a 5-footer himself…

And we have a playoff at Augusta.  Perry, Cabrera and Angel Cabrera head back to the 18th tee.  

Kenny Perry let this one get away, BIG TIME.

And, if he doesn’t win the playoff, he’ll have to deal with this for a long, long time.

All those great shots at 13, and 15 and 16…all for naught, now, as Perry failed to make par at one of the last two holes.

Too bad.

Angel Cabrera looks for his 2nd career major title, while Campbell and Perry seek their first.

And to think that at one point early in Friday’s second round, Chad Campbell was at -11.  And, now, -12 gets him in the playoff.

Weird game, golf.

 

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6:45 pm -

Here it is.

Kenny Perry for the win from 15 feet.

 

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6:40 pm -

An hour ago, Nestor sent me a text about the events at Augusta and I wrote him back:  ”Perry can’t close…”

Well, that’s looking like the case right now, as Kenny Perry has just missed the green at #18 in the worst possible spot…low and left of the hole, some 15 yards to the pin.

Nick Faldo is calling it a “miracle” if he makes a par here.

I’m telling you right now — a bogey isn’t a definite at this point.

Meanwhile, Angel Cabrera has a chip from in front of the green to presumably win the green jacket.

If nothing else, Cabrera needs to make par to get into the expected playoff if Perry can’t get the ball up and down.

 

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6:35 pm -

I guess I can say “I told you so…” even though I’d rather not.

The 18th hole tee shot was an issue for Kenny Perry, as he pulled it into the first bunker that borders the left side of the fairway.

It shouldn’t be a difficult shot for a player of Perry’s stature…about 160 yards or so.

But Angel Cabrera is in the middle of the fairway at -12.  And Chad Campbell has finished at -12.

Perry is -13 and only needs a par to win, unless Cabrera makes birdie.

He’s in the bunker.  

He needs three shots from there and he wins.

Great stuff…

 

6:32 pm -

Kenny Perry’s draw tee-shot has treated him well all day at Augusta.

He can’t hit that shot at #18, though.

Clinging to a one-shot lead, Perry has to hit the drive of his life right now.

Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell are both -12 and one shot behind Perry.

What a great Sunday it’s been.

 

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6:30 pm -

Kenny Perry’s 5th bogey of the week was, potentially, very costly.

Perry’s half-bladed chip went 45-feet past the pin at 17 and his two-putt from there gives him a one stroke lead going to the final hole at Augusta.  Perry leads at -13.

Angel Cabrera made a nice par at 17 from just over the green to stay at -12.

Chad Campbell will have 16-feet for birdie at #18 to get to -13. 

 

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6:25 pm -

Perry’s tee ball at #17 clattered off of one of those Georgia pines and bounded left into the fairway.  They say you should always take advantage of your good breaks.

Perry didn’t.

His second shot chased over the green and he’ll have a tough downhill chip coming up as he tries to protect a 2-shot lead. 

Angel Cabrera made a similar mistake – albeit from a much shorter distance – as his 2nd shot is also just over the green and behind the hole at 17.

Chad Campbell – like Perry, a draw-hitter off the tee – hit it left off the 18th tee and will have a free swing into the green but will likely have some 180-190 yards into the final green.

No one hit a great shot when they needed it at 17 or 18.  Yet.

 

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6:15 pm -

Angel Cabrera just coaxed in a 12-footer at #16 to get to -12, but Kenny Perry’s kick-in birdie moves him to -14 and a 2-shot lead through 16 holes at Augusta.

Chad Campbell just hit it in the front bunker at #17 and he’s about to watch someone else – Perry, most likely – slip on the green jacket.

It’s not over yet, though.  With Cabrera two shots behind, a bogey-birdie swing changes things dramatically.

The fade-required tee-shot at #18 could be problematic for Perry, who hits a draw off the tee.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.  They still have to play #17.

And, just like that, it could get interesting as Perry pushed his tee ball to the right on #17 and could be in trouble there.  

Cabrera’s tee-ball at #17 looks good.

It’s still interesting.

 

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6:10 pm -

Kenny Perry just hit it to 10 inches on #16 and is about to make birdie to get to -14 and, barring something bizarre, win The Masters.

Verne Lundquist – always good for a great line or two at #16 and #17 – said, “The shot of his life!” as Perry’s ball stopped just short of the hole.

Indeed, it might be.

 

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6:05 pm -

It’s a 3-hole golf tournament now and Kenny Perry has a one-shot cushion going to #16.

Perry just two-putted at #15 to get to -13, while Chad Campbell shoved his 6-foot birdie putt low right of the hole at #16 to stay at -12.

Angel Cabrera made birdie at #15 to get to -11, but he’s running out of holes.

 

 

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5:58 pm -

Kenny Perry hit the green in two at #15, but he has 55 feet to the hole and needs to 2-putt for birdie and retake the lead.

Angel Cabrera badly pushed his 2nd shot right of the green and has a delicate 25-foot pitch for his upcoming 3rd shot.

And Chad Campbell is tied for the lead at Augusta as he plays the par 3 16th hole.  And he nearly holed his tee shot!  He has four feet for birdie at #16 and the lead…his putt, as Verne Lundquist just said, is nearly identical to the birdie putt Woods made at #16 about an hour ago.

Kenny Perry putting for eagle at #15.  Chad Campbell has four feet to take the lead.

Wow.

 

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5:55 pm -

There’s a tie atop the leaderboard at Augusta as Chad Campbell just narrowly missed a 15-foot eagle putt at #15 and settled for birdie and a -12 score with three holes to play. 

Meanwhile, Kenny Perry waits in the middle of the 15th fairway – along with Angel Cabrera – waiting to play into the green.

What a finish this is setting up to be. 

I hope Perry’s 3-putt at #13 doesn’t come back to haunt him.

 

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5:4o pm -

With two 10-handicap bogeys at #18, Tiger and Phil concluded their final round on a disappointing note but certainly gave the crowd a thrill today (and, I’m sure, made CBS happy).

For Woods, he’ll look back at his Thursday putting woes and his bogey-bogey finish as main reasons why he didn’t win.

Mickelson, on the other hand, had the golf tournament in the palm of his hand before dumping his tee shot in the water at #12 and then missing a four-footer at #15 that would have given him a share of the lead at that moment.

It’s all out in front of Kenny Perry now.  If he makes a birdie or two coming in, he’s your winner.

He’s at -12, one shot ahead of Chad Campbell and two shots in front of Angel Cabrera.

 

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5:35 pm -

Making a par when you have the lead isn’t usually thought of as a mistake, but in Kenny Perry’s case, his 3-putt par at #13 was a big miscue.  That loose stroke at #13 on the 6-foot birdie putt was indicative of the nerves Perry is experiencing as he tries to win his first ever major championship.

Angel Cabrera just made birdie at #13 to get to -10.  He’s not out of it either.  13-under par is going to be the winning score.

Perry (-12) leads Chad Campbell by one shot now.

 

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5:30 pm -

If Kenny Perry doesn’t win the ’09 Masters, it will be a shocking conclusion. 

What lies ahead in the next 90 minutes?  

Perry has just hit the 13th green in two shots and needs two putts to get to -13.

Meanwhile, Chad Campbell left his eagle bid at #13 about three inches short, but he’s now at -11 and only one behind Perry.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have both missed the fairway at #18.  

It’s fairly apparent now that neither Phil nor Tiger are going to win today, but for a while there, it sure looked like one of them was going to do something historic this afternoon.

A virtuoso performance from both men…but Mickelson will be the one kicking himself tonight after short birdie misses at #4 and #17 and a sloppy missed four-footer for eagle at #15.

 

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5:22 pm -

Phil Mickelson – barring a collapse from Kenny Perry – will probably not win the ’09 Masters. 

Believe it or not, he has no one to blame but himself.

Mickelson’s missed 8-footer at #17 leaves him at -10, two shots behind Kenny Perry, who is getting ready to play into the 13th green.

Earlier, Phil missed a four-footer for eagle at #15.

 

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5:20 pm -

After driving the ball like Iron Byron since the first hole today, Tiger Woods picked the worst time to hit a bad drive, as his tee shot at #17 left him with no shot to the green and the ensuing bogey dropped Tiger to -9 and, effectively, out of the running for his 5th green jacket.

The bogey at #17 was Woods’ first of the round today.

 

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5:15 pm -

What a day it has turned out to be at Augusta.

When the day started, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were both at -4 and had no real chance of winning if any of the leaders played well.

Lo and behold, guess what happened?

Woods and Phil have both played bogey-free golf and are each at -10 right now as they get ready to hit their 2nd shots at #17.

Meanwhile, none of the leaders are doing anything.

Kenny Perry is the most solid of them, with 11 straight pars to start the round.

Angel Cabrera has dropped two shots today and is at -9.

Chad Campbell just made birdie at #12 to creep to within one of Perry at -10.

UPDATE:  Mickelson hits it to 8 feet at #17. 

UPDATE #2:  Kenny Perry just made birdie at #12 to get to -12. 

UPDATE #3:  Tiger missed the green at #17 after hitting a bad tee ball and will have to get up and down at #17 and then birdie #18 to have ANY hope at all. 

No more updates…for 3-5 minutes.

 

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5:05 pm -

For Tiger now, it’s fairly simple.

He probably has to birdie the last three holes to get to -12 and have any chance of winning or maybe getting in a playoff in this year’s Masters.

He’s off to a good start at #16, where Woods has just hoisted a 7-iron to 4-feet at the par-3.  Mickelson has 15 feet for birdie at #16 and he’s at -10, one shot behind Kenny Perry.

UPDATE:  Woods made his birdie putt at #16 to get to -10 and one shot behind Perry.

It’s officially Kenny Perry’s golf tournament to lose now, though.  If Perry can just birdie the two par 5′s on the back and steady himself around Amen Corner, he’s going to win The Masters.

He’s made 11 straight pars today.  And he’s looking pretty steady.

But, there’s a difference between playing the golf tournament and trying to make good swings and looking at the leaderboard with 90 minutes to play and knowing that if you don’t make any mistakes down the stretch, you’re going to win. 

 

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5:00 pm -

Phil Mickelson made birdie at #15 but if he loses the ’09 Masters by one shot, it will be a missed four footer for eagle at the 15th hole that will loom as the biggest faux pas of the final round.  

Woods made birdie as well at 15, nearly coaxing in a 15-footer for eagle.

Angel Cabrera is now back to -9 after a bogey at #10.

Kenny Perry leads at -11.  Chad Campbell has just made bogey at #11 and he’s now -9.

With Mickelson and Woods charging, the others near the top of the leaderboard  - except Perry – are retreating.

 

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4:53 pm -

Phil Mickelson is 4 feet from being tied for the lead at Augusta.

Mickelson (-9) just hit his 2nd shot stiff at #15 while Woods (-8) has about 15 feet pin-high for eagle. 

Kenny Perry still leads (-11) but maybe not for long.

The big question:  How will Perry handle the pressure when Mickelson’s -11 score gets posted on the scoreboard?

If Phil goes on to win here, it will be the greatest comeback in Masters history since the Nicklaus win in ’86.  I’m not counting 1996 when Greg Norman shot 78 in the final round to hand the tournament to Nick Faldo.  

 

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4:45 pm  -

With pars at #14, Tiger and Phil are now in the stretch run on the back nine at Augusta and both need some magic at the final par 5 on the golf course (15).

Woods, by the way, is just three shots off the lead and had a gaggle of misses on the greens during Thursday’s opening round 70.  And don’t forget, he’s played the 18th hole at 2 over par in three days and had 9-iron in his hand when he bogeyed the hole on Thursday and Friday.  If you want to know why Tiger isn’t winning, that’s one of the reasons right there.

Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera have started their back nine tour with prime tee shots on the 10th hole.

It’s time to hear some roars.

Woods and Mickelson will both have irons in their hands for their 2nd shots at #15.  They each need at least birdie, if not eagle.

 

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4:40 pm - 

Kenny Perry made all pars on the front nine today and leads The Masters at -11 as the tournament heads to the famous “Sunday back nine”.

Tiger Woods just missed the green from 172 yards at #14 and is one bogey away from being out of the hunt, barring a collapse by Perry or a miracle-run in the final few holes.

Phil Mickelson hit his 2nd on #14 about 10 feet above the hole and is poised to move to -10 with a holed birdie putt.  

And Chad Campbell remains tied with Angel Cabrera at -10.

It’s going to be a back nine for the ages.

For the record…I’m going to stick with Cabrera to pull this one out…perhaps in a playoff with Perry.

 

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4:37 pm -

Kenny Perry hasn’t made a birdie yet today but he still leads The Masters by one shot over Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell. 

Perry has, though, missed two relatively easy birdie putts (#7, #8) and must make *something* soon.

And now, Perry has just hit his approach shot into the greenside bunker at #9. 

It’s getting VERY interesting now…because none of the leaders are going low.

It’s looking more and more like -11 or -12 might win the golf tournament.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both made birdie at #13.  Phil stands at -9 and Woods is at -8, but time is running out for both of them.  

I’d say both of them are thinking -11 could be a playoff…and -12 might get the green jacket. 

But that really depends on the play of Perry, Cabrera and Campbell.  If one of those three guys gets hot and shoots 33 on the back nine, that would leave Phil and Tiger out of it.

 

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4:30 pm -

Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell continue to lead at Augusta as both are -11 and one shot clear of Angel Cabrera and two shots ahead of Jim Furyk.

Phil Mickelson’s blazing trip through the Georgia pines came to a screeching halt when he splashed his tee-ball at #12 and made double-bogey 5.  Both Mickelson and Tiger Woods are on the par 5 13th hole in two but both face 45-foot downhill eagle efforts. 

Update:  Furyk is about to make 6 or 7 at #9 and Chad Campbell has just made bogey at #9 to fall back to -10 and leave Kenny Perry alone at -11.

 

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4:15 pm -

Phil Mickelson just joined Dan Forsman in the “12th hole club” at Augusta National.  Forsman was in the hunt in 1995 when he dumped his tee-shot (and another thereafter) in the water at #12 and wasn’t heard from again as Ben Crenshaw went on to win.  

Mickelson just toe-slapped his 9-iron into the water at 12 and will lose at least one shot there.

Only two players in the history of The Masters have hit their tee-ball in the water on #12 on Sunday and gone on to win.   Seve Ballesteros (’83) and Sandy Lyle (’88). 

Kenny Perry (-11) is tied with Chad Campbell for the lead as he approaches an 8-footer for birdie at #8.

Tiger Woods has just made par at #12 to stay at -7.  His Masters hopes are going to hinge on how he plays the final six holes. 

Is there any magic in that red shirt?  We’ll see.

 

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4:10 pm -

Unless he pulls off the greatest 90 minutes at Augusta since 1986 when Ballesteros, Kite and Norman helped hand-deliver a 6th green jacket to Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods will not win The Masters in 2009.

That said, he’s now on the 12th tee in the final round at -7 — and with the leader at -11, Woods is far from out of it.  But, he must finish at least -12 to have a chance to win — and that might not even be good enough for a victory.

With 7 holes to play, Tiger needs to play 5-under par golf from here to the clubhouse.  The good news?  He’s KILLING his driver today, which should help him on the 13th and 15th holes, both par 5′s that might require eagle efforts from Woods if he wants to contend down the stretch.

It’s still Phil Mickelson making the most noise today — at -6 for the round and -10 overall, just shot behind Kenny Perry.

 

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4:05 pm -

Kenny Perry just shoved a five-footer right of the hole at #7 and failed to extend his lead – Perry has made all pars so far today, but needs as much breathing room as he can get over a hard-charging Phil Mickelson.  Phil is at -10 and Tiger Woods is at -7 and both are on the green at #11 with birdie putts.  Mickelson hit a horrible tee-ball at 11 but it somehow bounded its way through the pine straw and into an opening that left him only 160 yards to the hole.  

Phil shot 30 on the front nine to get to -10.  Neither he nor Woods have made a bogey yet today.

 

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3:50 pm -

Phil Mickelson made par at #10 and remains at -10, trailing Kenny Perry (-11) by one at The Masters.

Tiger Woods just two-putted #10 from 35-feet to stay at -7.  For Woods, he MUST be -10 through 14 holes to have any chance to win.  That means he has to play 11, 12, 13 and 14 at 3-under…a tall task, even for the game’s best player.  And, even if Woods does mount a charge and can get to -10, who knows what the leaders (and Phil) will do in the meantime?

Kenny Perry continues to move along nicely early in his round, as he has now made six straight pars to stay on top.

Angel Cabrera is at -10 after bogies at 4 and 5.  

 

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3:35 pm -

Tiger Woods shot 33 on the front nine in today’s final round.  Probably exactly what he figured he needed to do to get back into the thick of things at The Masters.

Only one problem – Phil Mickelson shot 30.

Mickelson just got up and down from the bunker at #9 to equal the Masters record for a front nine score and he’s now just one shot out of the lead at -10.

Meanwhile, like he did in the opening nine holes of the final round at the  ’07 U.S. Open at Oakmont, Angel Cabrera is throwing up all over himself…with a sloppy bogey at #4 and another expected-bogey coming up at #5 after a half-chunk chip for his 3rd shot leaves him with 60 feet for par.  Remember, though, that Cabrera steadied himself and went on to win that event by making three birdies on the back nine.

Kenny Perry just plods along with five pars so far to remain at -11.

It’s almost Mickelson’s tournament to lose now…he’s just pounded it on #10 and looks poised for a historic final round that will go down in the books like Miller’s final round 63 at Oakmont in ’73.

 

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3:25 pm -

Tiger Woods just made eagle at #8 to get to -7 for the tournament and he’s STILL in Phil Mickelson’s wake.  

Mickelson birdied #8 for his 6th birdie on the front nine – and he’s now at -10 for the tournament, just one shot behind co-leaders Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry.

Cabrera made birdie at #3 but just made a sloppy bogey at #4 to slip back into a tie with Perry.

This back-nine will be one for the ages.

Mickelson might be on the verge of some kind of historic final round.

 

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3:10 pm -

Chad Campbell just chipped in from behind the 3rd green to move within one of the lead at -10.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are now at the 8th hole, with Mickelson clearly the story of the day at -5 through 7 holes and 9-under par overall.  Woods MUST make at least birdie at #8, if not eagle, to have any hope of contending on the back nine.  

By the way, if you noticed their 1st hole greeting, there was a firm handshake between Tiger and Phil, but I didn’t see a smile from Woods (Mickelson’s back was to the camera).  

In 2008, Tiger’s caddie, Steve Williams, had some less than flattering things to say about Mickelson in a New Zealand newspaper.  Woods apologized to Mickelson and publicly admonished Williams, but it would appear that the two players are not fast friends…perhaps as a result of their individual competitive streak or the Williams’ comments last winter.

One thing for sure — Phil’s getting the best of the battle today.  By a longshot.

 

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3:00 pm -

You can hear it in the voices of the CBS announcers.

Something special is happening in the Mickelson-Woods pairing.  

And it’s not the game’s greatest player who is on the verge of making history.

Phil Mickelson just hit a rope hook from 155 yards on the 7th hole after his drive left him blocked out from the green…and his ball hit 8 feet from the hole and spun to within a foot…and Mickelson is about to go to -9 and be two shots from the lead.  

And he’s not even to the back nine yet. 

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, is the forgotten guy in the group.

He’s -1 through 6 on the day and has just lipped out a birdie putt at #7 to stay at -5.

Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera have both played even-par golf through 2 holes to stay at -11 and tied for the lead.

 

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2:50 pm -

Talk about a Sunday charge at Augusta.  Phil Mickelson isn’t waiting for the back nine.  He’s lighting up the front nine…with four birdies in the first six holes (and he missed a 10-footer for birdie at #4).  Phil is now -8 and within three shots of the lead held by Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry.

Both Cabrera and Perry made routine pars at the first hole.

Tiger Woods is -1 for the day, making five pars and a birdie at #2.

I probably shouldn’t say this…but what the heck:  If Mickelson wins today, he’ll have three green jackets.  Tiger has four.  Not that much difference there.

 

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2:45 pm -

Phil Mickelson just made birdie-3 at the par 4 5th hole and is shooting up the leaderboard at Augusta.  Mickelson is now -7, trailing the leaders (-11) by four shots.  Mickelson is clearly back in the golf tournament.  Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has putted like a 10-handicap so far today but has managed to stay alive by virtue of two great par putts at 4 (6 feet) and 5 (12 feet).  

Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry – the co-leaders – have just teed off at #1 and Cabrera absolutely pounded one at the first hole, nailing a 326-yard drive.  

Mickelson has just ripped an 8-iron to six feet at the par 3 6th hole.  If he makes this…watch out.

Let’s see what Tiger does here.  How will he respond?  

He hits it 15-feet, hole high.  Good shot…but not as good as Phil’s.  

 

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2:35 pm -

I realize the clothes are free, so there’s little reason to squawk.  But who picks out Mickelson’s tournament attire?

NIKE has given Tiger his color-scheme for the four major championships since he joined their staff in 1996.  He always looks sharp.

Mickelson, on the other hand, always looks like he ran out of clothes and had to pull something out of the hamper.

The black shirt, charcoal-gray pants selection for today’s final round is horrible.  

His golf, though, is razor sharp, as Phil is 10-feet from the hole at the tough 5th hole.  Woods has 40-feet for birdie.  And, he leaves it 15-feet short.  As bad as Mickelson’s outfit is, Woods’ putting might be worse.

 

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2:25 pm -

Angel Cabrera is dressed to win The Masters.  His khaki slacks and soft yellow shirt will look great with a green jacket.

I haven’t seen what Kenny Perry is wearing yet.  

Meanwhile, Mickelson and Woods both made par putts of 6-feet or so at #4.  Phil remains at -6, Woods at -5.

 

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2:15 pm -

Phil Mickelson’s 5-footer for birdie at #3 has moved him to 6-under par, five shots behind the leaders, who don’t tee off for another 25 minutes or so.

For Mickelson (and Woods, for that matter), it would be helpful to climb the leaderboard before Cabrera and Perry tee off of number 1.  If Mickelson could be, say, -7 or -8 by the team the two leaders stroll to the first tee, that would send the message to them that playing even-par golf today isn’t going to get the job done.

Woods made a routine birdie at #2, then hit a woeful 55-yard shot into the 3rd green and left himself 25-feet.  Mickelson lobbed a 60-yard shot to five feet at #3 and made the putt to move ahead of Woods and get within five shots of the lead.

Both are now on the par 3 4th hole…Phil just hit it to 15 feet.  Woods is 30 feet short of the hole.

 

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2:00 pm -

If Tiger Woods and/or Phil Mickelson plan on mounting any kind of serious charge at Augusta today, their game-plan is pretty simple. 

Both start the day at -4.  They MUST play the par-5 holes in at least -4 if not better…then play the other 14 holes in a minimum of 3-under par.

Step one of that process was just handled by both of them, as Mickelson knocked in a 6-footer for birdie and Woods swept in a gimme from 2 feet at the par-5 second hole.  They both made par at #1, so now they stand at -5.  Still a long way to go to catch any of the leaders, but it IS Sunday at Augusta.

Angel Cabrera (my pick to win today) and Kenny Perry will tee-off at 2:35 pm.

Feel free to chime in throughout the day if you’re watching and you have something on your mind.

 

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If you’re getting ready to cozy up to the TV and watch the final round of The Masters, grab your computer and chat along with me as we follow the action from Augusta National.

I’ll be “live” beginning at 2:00 pm.  By then, Tiger will be two or three holes into his final round and we should know, right away, if he’s going to mount any kind of charge at all on this final day.  I don’t think he’s going to suddenly figure out the greens after three days of stabbing at putts and flat-sticking himself OUT of the tournament.  Much to the chagrin of CBS and “Tiger-Nation”, Woods will not be a factor today.  That said…stick around just in case it gets interesting.

I’ll be back around 2pm to get things started.  The final twosome of Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry tees off at 2:35 pm.

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