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Cabrera dance

other Updated: Apr 13, 2009 00:03 IST

Watching a tournament from the sidelines is not something professional golfers look forward to. And if it happens to be in the Masters, then you hope it does not happen too often.

However, the third day of the Masters, where I walked around the course just as an onlooker, kept up my interest. The happenings were as interesting as a game of snakes and ladders.

There were some who moved up like Tiger Woods from 19th to 10th, though he is still way behind leaders Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry, who with 11-under, have carded the best scores for three rounds in the last seven years here.

The genial and big-built Cabrera, a former US Open winner, moved up to share lead with Perry, who is bidding to become the oldest winner of any Major.

A heavy bunch at the top promises to make the final day interesting. Apart from the two leaders, there is Chad Campbell, whose third round 72 saw him drop to third. Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker follow at fourth and fifth and the shared sixth place has the flamboyant Shingo Katayama, Rory Sabbatini and former British Open winner, Todd Hamilton.

Readers will remember that I mentioned Cabrera as a contender at eight-under after three rounds. He has now played very consistent three rounds of 68, 68 and 69 to vindicate my prediction. He has been unhurried and patient and that’s the quality you need to win the Masters. He is the only player in the field with all three rounds in the 60s and one more such round could see him get the Green Jacket.

Cabrera is now a star in Argentina, which has, of late, thrown up some talented young golfers. In three days Cabrera has dropped just five shots and has scored 16 birdies. His game has been a perfect blend of aggressive birdie hunting and smart, tight play.

Perry, at 48, is carrying the mast for the older guys on the US Tour. He was a star for the US in Ryder Cup last year.

There will be one other interesting pairing on Sunday. Tiger and Phil Mickelson go head-to-head in the final round, but they are seven shots behind the leaders.

But as they say, anything can happen in the Masters especially on the back nine on Sunday. And when push comes to shove, no one handles the scene better than the 14-time Major winner.