Augusta, GA – Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera posted matching rounds of 3-under 69 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead after three rounds of the 77th Masters.
Snedeker claimed his seventh PGA Tour win earlier this year at Pebble Beach. Cabrera owns two PGA Tour victories, the 2009 Masters and 2007 U.S. Open Championship. The duo stands atop the leaderboard at 7-under-par 209.
Adam Scott, who bogeyed the last four holes to lose the British Open last summer, is alone in third place at minus-6. The Australian also shot a 69 in round three.
Jason Day, the second-round leader, bogeyed the final two holes to slide into a share of fourth place at 5-under 211. He stands alongside fellow Australian Marc Leishman, who posted an even-par 72 on Saturday at Augusta National.
There are three Australians in the top five. They are hoping to break the streak that no Australian has won this tournament.
Matt Kuchar posted a 3-under 69 to move into sixth place at minus-4.
Tiger Woods overcame a 2-stroke penalty before his round to card a 2-under 70. That moved him to 3-under 213. Without the penalty, Woods would be tied for fourth at minus-5.
As it stands, Woods shares seventh place with Tim Clark, whose 67 was the low round of the day Saturday.
Defending champion Bubba Watson, playing alone in the first group, carded a 2- under 70 to get to 2-over 218 through 54 holes.
Phil Mickelson stumbled to a 5-over 77 to slide to plus-8 for the tournament and Keegan Bradley struggled to a 10-over 82 and fell to 12-over 228 overall.
The penalty Woods was given was caused by his drop on No. 15 after his third went into the water in round two. He needed to drop his ball as close as possible to where he had played his previous shot, but instead dropped his ball several feet behind that spot.
Tournament officials had determined on Friday there was no penalty. After hearing Woods's comments at the end of his his round and being made aware of the difference in position of his drop, they conferred with Woods early Saturday.
He was determined to have broke Rule 26, but thanks to Rule 33 he was not disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Instead, Woods was given a 2- stroke penalty.
Woods had two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, then rebounded from another bogey at the 10th with birdies at 12, 13 and 14 to get to 3-under. He parred out to end there.
"The last three saves were key. They kept me in the tournament," Woods said. "It was certainly a distraction early with the routine. Just like anything, it happens and you move on. I was ready come game time."
Day was atop the leaderboard for nearly the entire round, and he started his round with 12 consecutive pars. He 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 13th to move one stroke clear of Leishman at minus-7.
The 25-year-old Australian parred three in a row, but stumbled to bogeys on the final two holes to fall into a share of fourth.
That left Snedeker and Cabrera alone atop the leaderboard.
Snedeker also parred the first 12 holes. He knocked his second over the green at the par-5 13th and hit a delicate chip to five feet. He converted that putt to move to minus-5, where he was one back.
After Day moved to 7-under, Snedeker birdied the 15th to get back within one. He dropped his tee shot within three feet at No. 16. Snedeker drained that birdie effort, then parred the final two to get in first at minus-7.
"Making no bogeys around here is a really great thing for me. I drove the ball great today, I didn't really put myself in trouble at all," Snedeker stated. "I kind of hit away from pins today, hit the fat side of the greens and allowed my putting to get me through, and I made some good putts down the stretch to shoot that 69."
Cabrera stumbled to a bogey on the par-5 second. He quickly atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the third. He moved to 5-under with a birdie at the sixth.
The two-time major champion got up and down for birdie on No. 8 to grab a share of the lead. Cabrera briefly took the lead with a 25-foot birdie effort on the 10th.
Cabrera 3-putted the 12th to slip into a tie for the lead. He again 3-putted the 13th to drop one back. After a pair of pars, Cabrera came back with a 4- foot birdie putt on No. 16.
The Argentine dropped his approach nine feet from the hole at the last and poured that putt in to gain a piece of the lead.
"I've been working hard for this moment and I've got to take advantage of the opportunity," Cabrera said through a translator. "It was very important for anyone to win one green jacket, but to win two green jackets, I have to play well tomorrow."
Scott birdied the third, but later gave that stroke back at the 10th. He birdied both back-nine par-5s, 13 and 15. Scott also birdied the 17th to get within one of the lead.
"That was good, solid stuff. I tried to stay out of trouble as much as I could. It was one of those days when I hit a lot of good drives, but they finished just a couple yards in the rough, and that made it a little tricky to attack the pins," Scott stated.
NOTES: This is the first time Snedeker has had a piece of the 54-hole lead in a major. He has had four 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour, and won the last two after losing the first two ... Cabrera's only other 54-hole lead was at the 2009 Masters ... The winner each of the last two years has come from outside the final pairing, but 19 of the last 22 winners were in the final group ... Only one Masters winner (Art Wall, Jr. in 1959) was not in the top 10 after 54 holes ... Mickelson's 77 matched his worst score at Augusta and for the second straight round, he shot 40 on the inward nine.