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Good day to be a duck, Cabrera leads Masters
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) Argentina's Angel Cabrera was in his element on a gloomy Sunday at Augusta National, building a two-stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker in the Masters as they made the turn, nine holes away from his second green jacket.
Cabrera's nickname is "El Pato," which translates to The Duck. Maybe that's why he wasn't bothered by the wet conditions, strolling between shots lugging a giant umbrella, his son on the bag.
The 43-year-old began the final round tied with Snedeker, with plenty others right on their heels. But only Cabrera was steady through the front side, making a birdie at the par-5 fifth, another at the seventh, and nothing but pars on the rest of his card for a 9-under total.
Cabrera came in at No. 269 in the world rankings, but that's not really a factor when he gets on the biggest stages. His last PGA or European Tour win was at the 2009 Masters. Before that, it was the 2007 U.S. Open, where he won his first major title.
If Cabrera can hold on, he would be the lowest-ranked player ever to win the Masters - breaking his own mark of 69th from four years ago - and lowest to capture any major title since 396th-ranked Ben Curtis at the British Open a decade ago.
Snedeker was looking for his first major title. Until now, he's best remembered for his wild final round at the 2008 Masters, when he shot 77 and couldn't stop sobbing afterward.
That day, Snedeker pulled into a tie for the lead after an eagle at the second hole, but an 11-hole stretch beginning at the sixth did him in. He made eight bogeys, two birdies and only two pars.
On Sunday, Snedeker stumbled at bit with bogeys at the fourth and fifth, but managed to steady his nerves. A birdie at the par-5 eighth pulled him closer to Cabrera before they made the turn in the final group.
Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott were at 6 under midway through the round, both looking to spark quite a celebration Down Under.
No Australian has ever won the Masters.
After a shaky start, Tiger Woods finally steadied with back-to-back birdies around the turn. But he was still at 3 under - where he started - and needed the greatest comeback of his career to claim a fifth green jacket.
Woods has never won any of his 14 major titles when trailing after the third round, and he needed to make up two extra strokes after being penalized for an improper drop in the second round.
Bernhard Langer briefly surged into contention with three straight birdies to start the final round. But any thoughts of becoming the oldest major champion (55) quickly faded with four bogeys over a seven-hole stretch.
Under overcast skies, some of the early finishers put up impressive scores - a sign the greens weren't as slick as usual on a Sunday, setting up the potential for plenty of shuffling on an already crowded leaderboard.
Among those going out in the morning, Michael Thompson shot a 5-under 67, Ryo Ishikawa and Ryan Moore posted 68s, while Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley signed for 69s.
But Augusta had plenty of bite.
Defending Masters champion Bubba Watson and Kevin Na both made 10s on the par-3 12th, the most picturesque hole on the course. Watson finished with a 77 for a 7-over 295.
Shaking off the disappointment of closing the third round with two straight bogeys, Day rolled in a birdie putt at the very first hole. Then he pulled off a really memorable shot at the par-5 fifth. After going into the front bunker with his approach, he blasted out of the sand and watched it roll in for an eagle 3, thrusting his club toward the gray sky to celebrate.
But it was a forgettable Masters for three-time winner Phil Mickelson. He closed with a 73 for a 297 - the second-worst score he's ever posted at Augusta when making the cut. He had a 299 six years ago, but that was in much tougher conditions.
As for Guan Tianlang, time to get back to his homework.
He already gets an A for his first Masters.
The 14-year-old Chinese golfer wrapped up a memorable debut at Augusta National by shooting a 75, his experience not dampened in the least by a debated one-stroke penalty for slow play.
"It's such a great week for me," said Guan, the youngest player to make the cut at a major in the PGA era. "I learned a lot."
Guan's performance over four days was truly remarkable for the youngest player by far to play the Masters. He never had a three-putt on Augusta's perilous greens - well, he counts one from off the green - and his worst hole was a bogey.
"I played pretty good," he said. "I feel a little bit tired today. There are still a lot of things to improve. My short game's good, but I still need to be better. My driver probably needs to be a little longer."
Guan made a couple of birdies on the back side, but took a bogey at No. 17 after knocking at shot into a spectator's plastic bag. At the final hole, he two-putted from about 40 feet for a 12-over 300, receiving a big cheer from the gallery and a handshake from Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.
Guan can't take any prize money since he's an amateur. But he'll get a silver cup as the only amateur to make the cut.
There are no plans to turn pro anytime soon.
"It won't be too early because there are still a lot of things to learn, to improve," Guan said. "So nothing to rush."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
Updated April 14, 2013
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