Three rounds deep into the 2013 Masters, a former green jacket winner and a man inside the Top 5 of the World Golf Rankings are both threatening to bring home the coveted major tournament win on Sunday at Augusta.
Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker have a share of the lead at seven-under, one shot clear of Adam Scott and two shots clear of two other Australians—Marc Leishman and Jason Day—aiming to make Greg Norman proud by being the first-ever Aussie to win a green jacket.
Matt Kuchar is also lurking for his first major win at four-under, while Tiger Woods and Tim Clark will likely share the course on Sunday after both sit at three-under heading into the final round.
It's been quite the week so far at Augusta National.
From 14-year-old Tianlang Guan making the cut at four-over to Phil Mickelson shooting one of the worst rounds of his Masters career on Saturday, the tournament has been chock full of surprises. Another surprise was the decline of World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who slipped way down the board with a score of five-over in Round 3.
It's not too early to start looking ahead to what kind of big check these guys will be taking home at the conclusion of Sunday's round.
Sixty-one golfers made the cut at Augusta, but only one will take home the top prize from the $8 million purse, and we'll find out on Sunday which golfer that will be. Until then, here's a projected look at where the Top 5 golfers from the World Rankings will finish with respect to their cut of the dough.
Expected Payouts for 2013 Masters ($8 million purse)
Ties are calculated by adding together how many golfers finished in one given spot and then divided by said number. For example, if three men finished tied for second, the second, third and fourth place payouts are added together and divided by three.
Projecting Top Golfers' Payouts
Tiger Woods: 5th place, $320,000
Woods' day started with a two-stroke penalty, but it ended with a solid day of golf down the back nine that did not feature any more controversy on the 15th hole.
In fact, Tiger hit the shot he was likely trying to hit when all the controversy started about the subsequent illegal drop and two-stroke penalty that was later assessed after the tournament committee conferred.
At three-under, one can only wonder if Tiger would have a share of the lead or better after hitting the flagstick on that fateful shot during Friday's round, but the golf gods prevailed and Tiger has his work cut out for him in the final round.
Never a winner of a major championship without a share of the lead, I'm not sure this is a Tiger that can accomplish that feat. Although I do feel he will have his best day of golf on Sunday (four- or five-under), I'm not sure it will be enough to overtake the hot Australians and a suddenly overwhelming Cabrera on Sunday.
A fifth-place finish for Tiger would be great, and a major boost as he prepares for the other three majors this year.
Rory McIlroy: 35th place, $43,200
Yet again, McIlroy has faltered at the Masters.
Currently at five-over after a horrendous seven-over performance on Saturday, McIlroy sits tied for 44th and will have some work to do to climb up the leaderboard and avoid yet another horrendous appearance at this golf course.
Although he shot a 79 on Saturday, there's little doubt that McIlroy is a player that can make a late push away from his current perch at the bottom of the standings.
Without any pressure to win on Sunday, expect McIlroy to shoot a decent round and make a little more pocket change as he tries to fix whatever it is that's wrong with his game for the rest of the 2013 season.
Justin Rose: 12th place, 184,000
After hovering below the radar for the first two rounds, Justin Rose was unable to climb the leaderboard and put himself in position to win his first-ever major championship.
With four bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 12 (his second straight day to drop shots at the hole), Rose dropped all the way to even and appears to be somewhat of an extreme dark horse to post a score high enough to survive both the rest of the field and his early start on Sunday.
That being said, Rose is still quietly one of the best golfers that no one is talking about.
Like the rest of the field that has dropped below true "contention," Rose has no pressure and can just play golf on Sunday. He's too talented and has too much to prove to not creep back up the leaderboard on Sunday. He just misses the top 10 with a good score in the final round.
Luke Donald: 20th place, $104,000
Luke Donald's only real claim to fame in the Masters this year was his first- and second-round pairing with Woods.
After that, he's posted ho-hum scores of one-under, even-par and three-over—good enough for two-over on the tournament and a spot near the exact middle of the current 61-man field.
Although he's hit only three birdies over his last 36 holes after six in the first round, Donald has been great about hitting his ball in the fairway (31-of-42) and is fourth on the golf rankings for a reason. While 20th place isn't the finish he wanted or expected, he'll likely take the six figures if he can get it and move forward in his career without many complaints.
Brandt Snedeker: 1st place, $1,440,000
No. 5 in your programs, but No. 1 at Augusta!
After a brilliant third round at Augusta on Saturday, Snedeker is looking to capture his first-ever major championship at the Masters on Sunday, and played the kind of third round that leads us to believe he's ready to do so.
Although it will be tough to beat a surprisingly spry Cabrera in what should be must-see TV in the final pairing, Snedeker already has a tour win (Pebble Beach) this year and continues to prove that he is a golfer on the rise in the tour ranks.
Already in the Top 5 of the golf rankings, Snedeker was also a member of the 2012 Ryder Cup team, and has now played 27-straight holes without posting a bogey—dating back to the middle of the second round.
I'll give the edge to Snedeker over Cabrera and the trio of Australians (Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman), noting that anything can happen on the final day. However, there's a buzz about Snedeker's game that will be on full display on Sunday on golf's biggest stage, and his first green jacket would net quite the seven-figure payday, too.
Payouts do not take into account any ties or how said ties would affect monetary stake. For a complete look at the 2013 Masters leaderboard, check out PGATour.com.
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