Snedeker to the lead, Tiger making move at Masters
AUGUSTA— Brandt Snedeker was the surprising Masters leader and TigerWoods climbed into contention Saturday, despite squandering numerous chances to move even closer to the top at damp Augusta National.
Trying to overcome a daunting seven-shot deficit at the start of the third round, Woods knocked three strokes off the gap through 17 holes, certainly making those ahead of him — including Snedeker and 36-hole leader Trevor Immelman — a little nervous.
Imagine ifWoods had made a few putts.
After rolling in a 25-footer for birdie at No. 2, he began a stretch of four straight holes with birdie tries of no more than 15 feet starting at the fifth. He missed them all, including a 6-footer at No. 8. Then, after a nifty bunker shot stopped 8 feet past the hole at the par-5 15th, Woods rolled his putt left of the cup.
Smiling all the way around the front nine, Snedeker claimed the top spot all to himself when Immelman made a bogey at No. 4. The former U.S. Amateur Public Links champion birdied the two par 5s on the front, parred everything else and was at 9 under making the turn.
One shot back was Immelman, who came into the day leading by that margin. He shot 36 on the front side.
Paul Casey made the turn at 32 and briefly pulled into a tie for the lead, but he dropped back to 7 under with a his first bogey of the day at No. 11.
Phil Mickelson, trying to win his third green jacket in five years, made a birdie at No. 2
to get within two strokes of the lead, but faded with a stretch of three bogeys in five holes. Lefty got a bad break at the par5 eighth, hitting the flagstick with a shot that likely would have given him an easy birdie attempt; the ball ricocheted back toward the front of the green and he wound up three-putting.
Flesch, who joined Mickelson in an all-lefty twosome, birdied two of the first four holes at was at 7 under through 10.
Then there’s Woods, who hopes to get started on an unprecedented Grand Slam. He pulled within four strokes of Snedeker with a tap-in birdie at No. 17, the ball nearly going in the hole for eagle.
Defending Masters champion Zach Johnson bolstered his faint hopes of winning a second straight green jacket by shooting a 4-under 68, bringing his three-round total to a 2-under 214.