April 14, 2013

Tiger's lurking at Masters after avoiding disqualification

Tiger Woods is handed a two-shot penalty for a Friday decision, and is four behind co-leaders.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods made two significant moves Saturday at the Masters -- one to stay in the tournament, the other to stay in the hunt.

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Tiger Woods was given a two-shot penalty for taking an illegal drop during Friday’s round.

The Associated Press

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Brandt Snedeker says he’s been waiting 32 years for this moment, for this chance to win the Masters. He’s tied for the lead with Angel Cabrera.

The Associated Press

LEADERBOARD

Snedeker 70-70-67--209

A. Cabrera 71-69-69--209

A. Scott 69-72-69--210

Leishman 66-73-72--211

J. Day 70-68-73--211

M. Kuchar 68-75-69--212

T. Clark 70-76-67--213

T. Woods 70-73-70--213

TV SUNDAY: 2 p.m., CBS

A day filled with high drama before a shot was struck at Augusta National ended with Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera tied for the lead, and Woods only four shots back. For a few tense hours in the morning, it was not clear if Woods was going to get a chance to play.

Masters officials discovered late Friday night that Woods had taken a bad drop in the second round and should have added two shots to his score.

Under normal circumstances, he would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect card. Officials took the blame for not alerting Woods to a potential problem; they found nothing wrong at first glance before he signed, and kept him in the tournament with two shots added. Woods was covered under a 2-year-old rule that prevents disqualifications when a violation is reported by TV viewers.

"It certainly was a distraction early," Woods said after three birdies on his last seven holes for a 70. "It happens and you move on. I was ready come game time."

So was Snedeker.

He's been building toward a moment like this for the last year, and he seized his chance on a glorious afternoon with a bogey-free round of 3-under 69. After opening with 12 pars, he birdied both the par 5s and stuffed his tee shot to 4 feet for birdie on the par-3 16th to take the lead. Cabrera joined him at 7-under 209 with a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole, capping a round in which he twice made bogey on the par 5s.

They were two players going in opposite directions this year. Snedeker was seen as the hottest player in golf when in three straight weeks he was runner-up to Woods, runner-up to Phil Mickelson, then won at Pebble Beach. His momentum was slowed by sore ribs that kept him out for a month, though he appears to be hitting his stride.

"I've spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow," Snedeker said. "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, whose two major titles include a Masters win in 2009, has plunged to No. 269 in the world.

"I've been working very hard for this moment," Cabrera said through an interpreter. "And I've got to take the opportunity."

For Adam Scott, it's a chance at redemption.

He was runner-up at the Masters two years ago, though the fresher wounds are from last summer at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the Australian bogeyed his last four holes and finished one shot behind in the British Open.

Scott rammed home a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for a 69 and was one shot behind.

Two more Aussies, Marc Leishman (72) and Jason Day (73), were another shot behind, giving the blokes from Down Under as good a chance as ever to give their country some happy memories from Augusta National.

It's the only major an Australian has never won, a point driven home with every mention of Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead on the last day in 1996.

"Obviously, to win the Masters would be incredible," Scott said. "It would be great for Australia. We've never looked better odds-wise going into a Sunday, except that one year in 1996. It's going to be a hell of a round tomorrow."

Day was in the lead for most of the day, going 18 straight holes without a bogey until he missed short par putts on the last two holes.

(Continued on page 2)

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