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Masters news and notes

No roar on Saturday

Tiger Woods started the third round at the Masters seven shots off the lead. And that's where he ended it. Woods did not make a move, shooting 2-under 70, seven shots behind leaders Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera and tied for 10th. His day began with a double bogey on the first hole, but he made those shots up with two birdies on the front nine. He made three birdies and a bogey on the back nine. Woods has never won a major when trailing after 54 holes. Two weeks ago, he came from five shots back to beat Sean O'Hair at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which tied the largest Sunday deficit he has ever overcome. It will certainly take a score in the low 60s if Woods is to get near the leaders, and history is not on his side. In his past 16 rounds at Augusta, only one was in the 60s (68 in the third round of 2008). Still, he has finished no worse than third in the past four years. "Today was the hardest I've fought to get a score out of it," Woods said. "But I got myself somewhat back in it. I didn't shoot a 63 or 64, well, actually I did, but I just had to play a few more holes."

Old guys rule

Kenny Perry, below, is in position to be the oldest Masters winner. Should Perry, 48, win today, he will join an elite group of Masters champions who were in their 40s when they won. And he would join Mark O'Meara as the only Masters champs to win their first title in their 40s. A list of champions who won after turning 40:

Player Age Year

Ben Hogan40 1953

Sam Snead41 1954

Mark O'Meara411998

Gary Player42 1978

Ben Crenshaw45 1995

Jack Nicklaus461986

The other leader

Angel Cabrera hasn't gotten much attention this week, but after grinding out 3-under 69 in the third round, he will play with Kenny Perry in the final group of the final round. The 39-year-old from Argentina made three birdies on the back nine and scratched out an important par on 18 to get to 11 under. Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open two years ago, has never played in the final group of a major on Sunday. "I'm lucky enough to be in a very good position," Cabrera said. "I haven't been in this position before, so I'll try to make the most of it." He could become the first Argentine to win the Masters. Roberto De Vicenzo had a chance to win the 1968 Masters but signed a wrong scorecard and was disqualified.

Paddy slammed

Padraig Harrington needed to make a charge for a shot at a third straight major. Instead, he hit a tree. And then he hit the same tree again. When his debacle at the par-5 second hole ended with a quadruple-bogey 9, the Irishman was out of luck. Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan are the only players to win three different majors in succession, and it's almost certain to stay that way. "Obviously, I didn't expect to take a 9 at the second, but it happens in golf," Harrington said. "You have to put up with it." Harrington made five birdies after that and scratched out a 1-over 73, but as he looked back at the large leaderboard behind the 18th green, he saw the leaders 10 shots ahead with no indication they would come back to him. For him, the Masters was over. "I would think so," said Harrington, who won the 2008 British Open and PGA Championship. "I don't believe they will all come back to me."

Around Augusta

The leaders, Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry, will tee off together at 2:35 p.m. today. But there is another pairing to watch: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson tee off at 1:35 p.m. They are 4 under and have a way of motivating each other. … Former Masters champion Mike Weir shot 7-over 79 and fell from 1 under to a tie for last place at 6 over. … Tampa's Ryuji Imada, who made the cut on the number, shot an even 72 and is tied for 37th. … Five players shot 68 on Saturday, the low rounds of the day. They were Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Sean O'Hair, Ian Poulter and Steve Flesch.

Compiled from Times wires

Lesson learned

Rory McIlroy had a chance to explain himself Saturday. McIlroy, 19 and in his first Masters, was almost disqualified Friday when he kicked sand in a greenside bunker on the 18th hole. When McIlroy, left, didn't get his ball out of the bunker, he took a swipe at the sand with his right foot. Players are forbidden from testing the surface before hitting any shots in a hazard, and a penalty would have disqualified McIlroy because it would change his score after he'd signed his card. "It wasn't a tantrum," McIlroy said, looking far more composed Saturday. "In the rules it says a kick, and a kick is when you take your foot out of the sand and back in. A smoothing of the sand is what I did. I might have done it a little vigorously, but that was my intent. It wasn't my intent to test the sand." Fred Ridley, chair of the competition committees at Augusta National, called McIlroy back to the course Friday evening to review tapes of him in the bunker. He explained his intent in the bunker, and the committee eventually allowed him to play Saturday. "I didn't feel I had done anything wrong or anything to violate the rules, so I was very certain no action would be taken," he said. After a bunker shot on the second hole Saturday, he quickly climbed out and let his caddie rake the sand. "I was a little more careful," said McIlroy, who shot 1-under 71. "I know I didn't do anything wrong, but I don't want to be in that position again."

Masters news and notes 04/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 11, 2009 10:33pm]
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