After one of the most dramatic Saturday mornings in recent memory at The Masters, Tiger Woods did in fact continue to play, the world did not explode and the golf wasn’t bad either.
Starting with Woods, he was even through 9 and 1-under for the tournament, five shots back. He bogeyed the 11th, but came back with consecutive birdies at 12 and 13 to get to -2 for the tournament. At the 15th hole, site of Friday’s disaster, Woods hit an excellent second shot from 211 yards, accentuated with a small fist pump. Woods narrowly missed his eagle try but tapped in for birdie. He parred in to finish with a 2-under 70 for a total of 3-under.
The day ended with Brandt Snedeker and 2009 champion Angel Cabrera tied for the lead.
Snedeker seemed to have found the top-notch form he showed on the West Coast. After a string of 12 pars to start his round Sneds fired off birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to reach 7-under par.
Paired with Snedeker Sunday will be ’09 champ Angel Cabrera. In a curios round of 69, Cabrera bogeyed 12 and 13 to fall back to -5 and out of the lead. He then birdied 16 and 18 to tie Snedeker. Cabrera played the par 5s in +2 Saturday, which is more likely to result in a 79 than a 69 at Augusta.
The Chasers, including Woods are Tim Clark, playing with Woods after Saturday’s low round of 67, Matt Kuchar, whose 69 was a great bounce-back from a tough day Friday, and Australians Jason Day, who bogeyed the final two holes to drop out of the lead, Mark Leishman after an up and down 72, and Adam Scott who sizzled with a 69. These final three carry the hopes of Australia, whether they want to or not, to try and capture the country’s first Green Jacket.
SO…Who Will Win?
My pick is Snedeker, because of this quote,
I’ve been preparing for this round for 32 years.
Certainly he can be challenged by Cabrera, Kuchar and the Aussies. Cabrera is the only man in the top 8, besides Woods with a major championship (07 US Open and (09 Masters). The Argentinean is the least likely to be affected by a potential Woods run. He seems to be blissfully unaware of what is happening on the course, and it works to his advantage.
It looks like Matt Kuchar is ready to win a major, at 3 behind, he can certainly make it happen. Of the Australians, I like Adam Scott’s chances best. Leishman and Day are not experienced, and Day takes forever to hit his shots, I believe that will work against him down the stretch. Scott will make putts and has been so close over the last two years.
We’ll close with Woods. What does he need to do to win? Honestly, shoot 65 or 66. I’ve read many who say Tiger needs a fast start to push those in front of him. I disagree, he needs momentum. If he does what he has done recently, he’ll shot 3 under on the first 9 and stall on the second. Tiger will need to build momentum on the front, perhaps a birdie at 8 or 9 then score on the back nine. If Woods can be charging ahead of the leaders on the second nine, they’ll take chances to try and hold on. The second nine is full of risk-reward holes, and Woods wants his opponents to take as many risks as possible. The issue for him is hoe many risks he needs to take to grab the lead.
All told, I think Brandt Snedeker slips on the Green Jacket.