A host of players seeking their place in championship golf will battle it out today at Augusta, while a couple of former champions will once again try to prove that experience, above everything else, counts most at the Masters.
Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker will play in the final group on Sunday, both sitting at -7 for the tournament. Cabrera already owns one green jacket – and a U.S. Open title – and is a perennial contender here with his bombing drives and soft touch around the greens. Snedeker is enjoying a terrific two year run that has garnered lots of “best American player” discussion.
Either of those men could win on Sunday and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. In fact, if I had a dollar to wager this morning and could get decent enough odds, I’d take Snedeker to win the tournament. He’s ready.
Oddly enough, an Australian has never won the Masters. Today, three Aussies have a shot at winning the title. Adam Scott (-6), Marc Leishman (-5) and Jason Day (-5) are all one great round away from capturing their first major championship. Of the three, Scott seems the most likely to break through. He’s played well at Augusta over the last two years, had a chance to win in 2011 before Charl Schwartzel’s back nine birdie barrage, and coughed up the British Open last July when the trophy was sitting there waiting for him. If any player in the top 10 “deserves” to win his first major title, it’s Scott. Day and Leishman are both still in the hunt, but neither has the pedigree of Adam Scott.
Matt Kuchar put together a solid third round of 69 and is just three back at 4-under par. Like Snedeker, all that’s missing from Kuchar’s resume is a major title and this could be the year he gets it. A Sunday round of 66 or 67 could be enough for the likeable Georgia Tech grad.
Tiger Woods told reporters after Saturday’s round of 70 “I’m still in the ballgame” and, at 3-under par, he certainly is. Woods is still in the tournament thanks to a friendly ruling on Sunday morning, and if he goes on to somehow win the event today, he’ll have to battle years of asterisk-discussion when folks bring up the 2013 Masters. His Saturday play was decent enough, with three nice par-saves down the stretch helping him put together his second sub-par round of the event. Tiger’s back-nine play was encouraging on Saturday, as he shot 34 on the inward nine, something he hasn’t done often over the last few years. For TW to win major #15 on Sunday, he’ll need at least 66 on his card at day’s end.
Tim Clark is also at -3 and lurking, although there’s nothing in his biography that indicates he’ll produce a second consecutive round of 67 and move into contention on Sunday. He’s a nice player and all, but suggesting he can work his way through the pack on Sunday and win a major title is just a tad too ambitious.
It sets up for a great Sunday of Masters theater. You have the on-going Woods controversy, a couple of Americans in Snedeker and Kuchar, and three Australians looking to end a country’s frustration with the greatest golf tournament in the world.