Friday, 19 March 2010
The Masters - Round Three  (Getty Images)
The Masters - Round Three (Getty Images)

Angel Cabrera will attempt to avenge Roberto de Vicenzo’s heartbreak after moving into a share of the Masters Tournament lead with Kenny Perry.

No Argentine golfer has ever won the Masters but 41 years ago De Vicenzo came agonisingly close. Everyone believed he was about to go into a play-off with Bob Goalby but it emerged that De Vicenzo returned an incorrect scorecard showing a four on the 17th instead of a birdie three. The four stood and the title went to Goalby with De Vicenzo second.

Over four decades later, Cabrera is in position to claim the Green Jacket so cruelly denied to his fellow countryman. Having already won the US Open, claiming the title in 2007 at Oakmont, Cabrera knows how to win a Major Championship.

He and Perry lead American Chad Campbell by two strokes with another former US Open Champion, Jim Furyk in fourth place on eight under par.

And while the leading group look to have a sizeable advantage, anything can happen on the final day of the Masters Tournament and players well back still harbour hopes of victory.

The group of players on four under par includes leading Europeans Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood along with the World Number One and Two, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who will be paired together in the final round.

Cabrera got off to a shakey start with a three putt on the first for a bogey five but did very little wrong after that in picking up five birdies.

“It was a great round today, despite that I made three putts on the first hole, I was able to be patient and keep the concentration going and finish up a good round,” he said.

Asked what he learned from his US Open triumph, Cabrera simply replied: “What I learned is that I can win; I can win big tournaments.”

At the age of 48, Perry will be aiming to become the oldest Masters Champion in history, beating Jack Nicklaus’ record in 1986 when he was 46. He is a proven winner but is well aware he faces a huge task on Sunday’s final round
“It's going to be a big test for me tomorrow,” he said. “I'm looking forward to it and I'm looking forward to the challenge.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I got.  You know, this may be my last time to have this kind of opportunity.”

Among those in the chasing pack, Poulter gave himself an outside chance of winning the Masters with a four under par 68, but was "steaming" over one costly error.

The Open runner-up had his fourth three-putt bogey of the week on the ninth and said: "That's silly.

"I've mapped out the greens the last three years and got every break, but I had a slight misread and then didn't hit the second putt hard enough.

"It was annoying and if I've got seven shots to make up tomorrow it might be a push."

And that’s exactly the margin he will have to overcome if he is to win.

Westwood has the same deficit to make up after a third round 70 took the Englishman to four under par, be he knows it is not insurmountable.

“You never know what can happen round here. That’s what makes the Masters so special, anything can happen.”

But Padraig Harrington’s hopes of a third successive Major title are all but over after he racked up a horror quadruple nine on the second hole. Harrington did not hesitate to write off his chances after his nine - only one short of the record high score at the 575-yard hole in Masters history.

Although the Open and US PGA champion came back with five birdies he knew it was never going to be enough after starting the day already seven adrift.

His pulled drive ran down a slope into trouble and in trying to get down near the green on the par five Harrington hit a tree trunk and rebounded into the bushes.

He was forced to take a penalty drop, but his next attempt also hit a tree and went into a ditch.

Despite the overnight tornado which had dumped over an inch of water on the area in under two hours he was able to play the ball out, but could not advance it far at all.

His sixth was just short of the green and by failing to get up and down he crashed to two over.

"Obviously my chances went then," he said after coming back with five birdies, but also after dropping two more strokes.

"These things happen in the game and you can't do much about it.

"I didn't really think the second shot was a gamble, but there was a root in front of the ball and as I went to hit I backed off a bit.

"I wasn't concerned about the tree until then, but it came off the club a bit right.

"I'm not really disappointed and I was not deflated at all. It was a 'so be it' sort of thing. I would not in any way say I have full control over my destiny.

"It wasn't to be. It's the nature of the game - my game any way. I'll build up to the US Open now.

"I'm really gutted about how I chipped, though. I'm really not happy about that - you can't afford to give shots away and there were three easy ones I made a dog's dinner of."

Woods birdied three of his last six holes, but he had opened with a double bogey six and that meant "only" a 70 and at four under par - three better than Harrington - he remained part of the chasing pack.



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