AUGUSTA, Ga. — They call him “Opie,” after the kid on “The Andy Griffith Show”, but Brandt Snedeker sounded more like The Terminator after his Masters round on Saturday.
“I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow and I am completely 100 percent sure that I’m ready to handle it, no matter what happens,” Snedeker declared after a pristine, no-bogey, 3-under-par 69 that left him tied with Angel Cabrera after three rounds.
“I’m not here to get a good finish or finish in the top five. I’m here to win and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happens. I’m fresh, and if I drive the ball in the fairway and play the par-5s well, I’ll have a really good day.”
Snedeker won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup last fall, worth $10 million, and began this year with three second-place finishes and a victory at Pebble Beach.
Then he pulled a rib muscle and has not made a cut since.
Snedeker also had a chance to win in 2008 but finished with a 77 and couldn’t restrain tears afterward.
“Back then I had no clue,” he said. “I had no game plan, no idea of when to be aggressive. Now I have a clear set of goals.
“You can’t miss it left here, and I’ve got a good one-way miss going. I’m also driving the ball very well, and I’m doing a good job of waiting. This golf course wants to bait you into going for pins when you shouldn’t.”
Snedeker began this round with 12 consecutive pars. He has eight birdies on par-5s, more than anyone but Matt Kuchar. He is tied for fourth in both fairways hit and greens in regulation.
Cabrera, who beat Kenny Perry here in a 2009 playoff, birdied 16 and 18 to match Snedeker at 7-under. He was even par after 24 holes of the tournament.
The Argentinian, who also won the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, has been injured and ineffective in recent years and is ranked 269th in the world. He, Lee Westwood and 14-year-old amateur Tianlang Guan are the only players in the field with no 3-putts over three days.
Adam Scott shot 69, with birdies on 13, 15 and 17, and is alone in third, one stroke back.
Fellow Aussies Marc Leishman and Jason Day are one stroke behind Scott.
Day, the leader after 36 holes, parred the first 12 holes, took the lead with a birdie on the 15th, but then missed a short par putt on 17 and also bogeyed 18.
Tiger Woods was given a two-stroke penalty Saturday for a violation on the 15th hole Friday but managed a 2-under-par 70 and is 3 under, four strokes behind.
The hottest golfer over the past two rounds is Nick Watney, whose 69-68, on top of a Thursday 78, pulled him into the group at 1under.
Rory McIlroy triple-bogeyed the 11th and doubled the 15th, thanks to waters, and ballooned to 77 and 5over for the Masters. Phil Mickelson (77) is three strokes behind him.
“If you’re six strokes behind with nine holes to go, as we all know, you still have a shot,” Woods said.
Sundays always pack a surprise here, but Snedeker was acting as if anything short of a green jacket on his shoulders would be an upset.
©2013 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)
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