The final day of the 2009 Masters is set for a fascinating duel between the two Americans, Chad Campbell (-9) and Kenny Perry (-11) and the Argentinian, Angel Cabrera (-11). Of the three, only Cabrera has a major championship to his name; but the other two will benefit from home crowd support.
But, don’t count the rest of the field out of it. For the first time for a decade, the course is yielding birdies like in the glory days of the 1990s. And it looks like the stage is set for more birdies come Sunday.
Certainly that’s the sort of score both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will have to shoot tomorrow, because they both find themselves at 4-under-par with one round to play. But, if they do, and finish say on 11-under-par, the leaders might go backwards fast under that sort of pressure. And they will be playing together and could push each other to a scorching finish.
Of the 23 Europeans in the field, only 13 made the halfway cut, and only Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood got realistically within striking range of the leaders in Saturday’s third round. These two Englishmen will go out tomorrow on 4-under par, carrying with them European hopes and knowing they need to shoot 'the lights out' to stand a fighting chance of victory.
Tiger has not quite fired on all four cyclinders so far and knows he needs to find something special.
“I fought hard today after making a double bogey at the 1st” said Tiger, “and I’m pretty proud of the fact I got myself back in the tournament. I just didn’t hit the ball as precisely as I needed to today, and just fought so hard to get it back, just to shoot a number."
Padraig Harrington’s chances of winning a third straight major finished at the par-5 2nd, where he had to hole a tricky little side-hiller for a quadruple bogey 9, which he did. His drive went into the woods on the left, from where he tried to hit a 3-wood, which hit a tree and rebounded backwards into a ditch. He then took a penalty drop, hit the same tree which this time went into the water in the ditch. He played out of the ditch, hit a shot down to the front of the green and chipped and two-putted for a 9.
“I was annoyed not to get up and down to make an 8,” he said afterwards. “Tomorrow, I just want to play well and move up the field. I played well after the 2nd, but probably not well enough. What you’ve got to remember is someone made 11 birdies here yesterday, so it is possible to go low out here.”
Poulter said he hit it terribly on the range before his round, and was disappointed with his 4-under par 68, which equalled the best round of the day. “The only mistake I made all day was on the 9th, “ he said, “when I managed to turn a 30-foot birdie putt into a bogey. After the storm last night, the greens are obviously very soft, and there are still a lot of birdies out there. I just love it here. My patience is getting better and better. This is my 5th Masters and I’m learning so much that I’m now missing it on the right sides when I do miss it. “
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy shot a 71 to be level par for the tournament and too far back, even for him.
205 (-11) Angel Cabrera
205 (-11) Kenny Perry
207 (-9) Chad Campbell
208 (-8) Jim Furyk
209 (-7) Steve Stricker
210 (-6) Todd Hamilton, Shingo Katayama, Rory Sabbatini
211 (-5) Tim Clark
212 (-4) Sean O’Hair, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Nick Watney, Stephen Ames, Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim
215 (-1) Justin Rose (74, 70, 71) Padraig Harrington (69, 73, 73), Sandy Lyle (72, 70, 73) Graeme McDowell (69, 73, 73), Sergio Garcia (73, 67, 75)
216 (Even) Rory McIlroy (72, 73, 71) Luke Donald (73, 71, 72) Henrik Stenson (71, 70, 75)
217 (+1) Paul Casey (72, 72, 73)
218 (+2) Ross Fisher (69, 76, 73)
221 (+5) Miguel Angel Jimenez (70, 73, 78)
Don't miss any last-riund action tomorrow...