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Tiger in hunt as Masters drama set to unfold

AFP
Tiger Woods hits from a sand trap on the 17th green at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2013 in Augusta

AUGUSTA, Georgia (AFP) –

Tiger Woods of the US hits from a sand trap on the 17th green during the third round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.

Tiger Woods is in the hunt and Australia’s Masters jinx might be in its final hours, but Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker were the men to catch in Sunday’s final-round Masters drama.

Rain showers were in the late-afternoon forecast at Augusta National, but nothing looked to put a damper on the tension rising as the battle for the green jacket approached its climax over the famed 7,435-yard layout.

There has not been a Monday finish at the Masters since 1983. Only in 1936 and 1961 has a Sunday storm pushed the final to the next day.

Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion from Argentina, and American Snedeker, last year’s US PGA playoff and Tour Championship winner, were booked for the final pairing after standing at seven-under par 209 through 54 holes.

Australian Adam Scott was one stroke back with Aussies Jason Day and Marc Leishman on 211, American Matt Kuchar on 212 and Woods and South African Tim Clark on 213.

Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, will try to win a major for the first time when he has not at least shared the lead after 54 holes.

The Australians will be trying for an unprecedented feat as well. No Aussie has ever won at Augusta National.

Woods, seeking his first major title since the 2008 US Open and his first green jacket since taking his fourth in 2005, ignored calls by some to withdraw after a controversy erupted Saturday over an improper drop Friday at the 15th.

A rule adopted in August of 2011 gave Augusta National the option of imposing a two-stroke penalty rather than disqualifying Woods for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“Under the rules of golf, I can play,” Woods said. “A year or two ago, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to play. But the rules have changed.”

Still, some critics will see this green jacket carrying a “Masterisk” if Woods rallies to win it.

Scott hopes to ease the sting of squandering last year’s British Open at Royal Lytham, handing Ernie Els the victory by making bogeys on the last four holes.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese schoolboy who is the youngest player in Masters history, fired a 75 to finish 72 holes on 12-over 300. He made his first birdies since an opening-day 73 at the par-5 13th and par-3 16th.

“It was such a great week for me. I learned as lot,” Guan said. “Still a lot of things to improve.”

Guan will receive the low amateur’s Silver Cup at the Masters awards ceremony. He was the only amateur to make the cut.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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