Surprising Faces Atop The Leaderboard on Sunday: Third Round Recap (Holes 8-10)

jonathan staub@JStaubSportTalkCorrespondent IApril 9, 2009

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Angel Cabrera reacts to his birdie on the 17th hole during the third round of the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2009 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

There is no question that we will be talking about the 2009 Masters for many years.


What will arguable go down as one of the greatest major championships in history, it was made all the more special by the several record breaking performances recorded over the weekend.


Scoring was at an unprecedented low as the field took advantage of prime weather conditions.


Anthony Kim set a Masters record with 11 birdies in his second round.


A record 36 players shot better than par on the first day.


Chad Campbell birdied the first five holes on the first day to mark another first.


Phil Mickelson tied a Masters record by shooting a 30 on the front nine Sunday afternoon.


Kenny Perry nearly became the oldest man to ever win a major until he was trumped in a playoff by the first Argentinean to win the Masters in Angel Cabrera.


Cabrera seemed to be unaffected by what was going on around him. It appeared as if nothing could deter him from what seemed to be a pre-ordained destiny. Continually nailing big shot after big shot, Cabrera managed to outlast Perry for the win.


After recording a birdie on the third hole, Cabrera got his score to 12 under before giving three shots back to the course over the next seven holes.


Falling to as many as three shots back, Cabrera began to mount a charge over the next four holes. Birdies at 13, 15 and 16 pulled Cabrera within two shots of the lead.


Kenny Perry would ultimately bogey holes 17 and 18. This would lead to a three-man playoff between Perry, Cabrera and Chad Campbell, who turned in a 69 after birdies on 12, 13 and 15.


Roars from the crowds ahead, namely those watching the Tiger-Phil show, were constant reality checks for the group of Perry and Cabrera.


The two played two entirely different rounds of golf with Perry recording a par on the first 11 holes and Cabrera going from 11 under, to 12 under, then falling as far back as nine under, then getting back to 12 under for the playoff.


While the pressure of the situation was clearly getting to Kenny Perry, Cabrera was as cold and calculating as they come.


Facing what seemed to be certain elimination from the sudden death hole, Cabrera managed to get up-and-down from just off the green as he willed his second shot from directly behind a tree to within striking distance of the hole.


On the second sudden death hole, after Perry missed the green with his second shot, Cabrera was faced with what might have been the most important shot of his career.


Attempting to win his second major, Cabrera stuck his second shot within 15 feet of the flag, and two-putted for the win.


You could almost sense that the entire nation of Argentina did a collective fist-pump as Cabrera became the first man from that country to dawn the Green Jacket.


Cabrera didn’t hide his emotions when he managed to save par at the 18th in regulation.


He didn’t shy away from his excitement on the first playoff hole when he managed to get up and down after his horrendous tee-shot.


But the biggest fist-pump of all, the one that came after his tap-in for the win, signaled the validation of Cabrera as more than just a one-and-done champion.



Hole 8 – Yellow Jasmine – Par 5 – 570 yards


Jasmine was friendly all weekend. The field capitalized on her generosity again Sunday, as it played to a 4.9 average and finished as the fifth easiest hole on the course.


One eagle and 11 birdies far outweighed the six bogeys that were recorded on the day.


Only one of the playoff-three, Chad Campbell, managed to birdie the eighth hole.


The back-right pin placement kept the scoring in check, but there were a lot of missed opportunities on the eighth hole on Sunday.



Hole 9 – Carolina Cherry – Par 4 – 460 yards


The ninth hole played as the most difficult hole on the day; it played to a 4.4 average.


While the leaders managed to par the treacherous ninth, there were 12 bogeys, three doubles and two scores worse than a double recorded.


Only two birdies were salvaged on the ninth, as players opted to keep things conservative coming into the turn.


With a pin placement that was tucked next to the front greenside bunker, there was little opportunity to score on the ninth.

Hole 10 – Camellia – Par 4 – 495 yards


The 10th hole turned out to be the most important hole of the day.


Playing as the sixth most difficult hole on the course, it ultimately decided the tournament as Cabrera managed to capitalize on left pin placement that took the greenside bunker out of play.


Playing to a 4.1 average, there were only two birdies recorded on the 10th; by comparison there were nine bogeys.


The players that were able to get drives down the middle of the fairway were able to use the dogleg to build momentum to add to their drive. This provided an easy second shot into the green where most competitors managed to two-putt for par.


In the case of Cabrera, he two-putted for the win.



Notes: Round four saw far more red numbers than the third round. There were 10 eagles recorded on Sunday (1 on Saturday) and 177 birdies (160 on Saturday).


Tiger and Phil played a combined nine under par. The final group on Sunday shot a combined two under.


This was the second major championship for Angel Cabrera; he becomes on the seventh player, other than Tiger, to win multiple majors since Woods’ debut in 1997, only three players other than Woods have won three majors in that same time.