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Brandt Snedeker, Angel Cabrera tied for Masters lead

Brandt Snedeker waves to the crowd on the

Brandt Snedeker waves to the crowd on the 18th green during the third round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (April 13, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Beyond the controversies and penalty strokes, the slow play of 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, the debate over Tiger Woods' non-disqualification, this Masters has become a compelling tournament.

Going into Sunday's final round, the competition is about as wide open as the eighth fairway at Augusta National.

The lead is shared by Brandt Snedeker and 2009 champion Angel Cabrera at 7-under-par 209 for 54 holes. Each shot a 3-under 69 Saturday when few putts fell and the temperature rose, topping out at 79 degrees.

Close behind are three Australians attempting to become the first from their country to win the Masters -- Adam Scott at 210 and Jason Day and Marc Leishman at 211. Scott and Day tied for second in 2011.

Another shot back at 212 is Matt Kuchar, who the last couple of years has won The Players and Accenture World Match Play but has never won a major. And at 213 are Woods, who was handed a two-shot penalty before he teed off after an improper drop Friday, and Tim Clark, the South African. Woods came in with a 70, Clark a sparkling 67.

Phil Mickelson shot a 77, equaling his worst score in 21 Masters, but he was still two strokes better than Rory McIlroy, who posted a 79 after a triple bogey and double bogey on the back nine.

Snedeker, 32, first played at Augusta in 2004 when he qualified as Public Links champion. A graduate of Vanderbilt, a few-hours drive from Augusta, Snedeker figured he got in 30 to 40 practice rounds, made the cut that year, then in 2008 as a pro, he finished third.

"I had no clue what I was doing in 2008," said Snedeker, who didn't make a bogey Saturday. "I had no game plan, no idea of when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive, how to play this golf course the way you're supposed to play it.

"I have a completely clear focus of what I need to do [Sunday], clear set of goals that I need to hit. If I do that, I have a chance to win this golf tournament." Snedeker was the hottest player on tour at the start of the season until a rib injury sidelined him.

Cabrera, the 43-year-old from Argentina who came from behind here four years ago to win in a playoff, also won the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Cabrera holed a birdie on the 18th to tie Snedeker. He thinks his situation at this Masters is different. "It's more about execution and about patience," Cabrera said. "I don't think it's a big advantage that I've won before. It's more about patience."

Augusta National Saturday took willingly and gave grudgingly. Day, who held the overnight lead, made only pars the first 12 holes. His first birdie, on the par-5 13th, pushed him in front once more at 7 under. But he finished with two bogeys.

"I three-putted 17 and 18," said the 25-year-old Day. "So I'm not disappointed. Obviously, I would love to have the lead, but I'm a couple back. Now's the opportunity to go out there and win my first major. Masters Sunday is always nerve-wracking."

Time caught up with 53-year-old Fred Couples, who started at 5 under and tied with Leishman for second. Couples was even for the round after the 13th despite a double-bogey at the seventh, the second straight day he made double there. Then he bogeyed 14 and 15 and triple-bogeyed 17 for a 77.

"I would think," he surmised, "that put me out of any running for anything."

Mickelson? "You cannot get a more majestic day," he said, "I just played terrible."

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