AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Former champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina stayed on track for a third major title by moving two strokes clear of the field midway through Sunday's final round at the Masters.
The 43-year-old from Cordoba, who clinched his first green jacket in a three-way playoff for the 2009 Masters, birdied the second and seventh to reach the turn in two-under 34, nine under for the tournament.
His American playing partner, Brandt Snedeker, was alone in second at seven under with Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott a further stroke back in a tie for third.
Day had completed 10 holes and Scott nine on a wet, overcast day at Augusta National where they were each hoping to end an Australian jinx at the Masters by winning a first green jacket for their country.
Another Australian, Marc Leishman, was at five under while four-times champion and pre-tournament favourite Tiger Woods was six strokes off the pace after 11 holes.
Woods' bid for a 15th major title, and his first since 2008, was effectively ended when he made bogeys at the fifth and seventh, though he rebounded with successive birdies at the ninth and 10th to get back to three under.
Day made an explosive birdie-eagle start to the final round, sinking a slick 20-footer at the par-four first before holing out from a greenside bunker to eagle the par-five second.
That briefly put the 25-year-old in the outright lead but he was joined at the top after Snedeker birdied the first and Cabrera two-putted for birdie at the second.
Snedeker, co-leader overnight, faltered with bogeys at the fourth and fifth in steady drizzle and 2007 U.S. Open champion Cabrera forged ahead when he struck a superb approach to inside a foot at the par-four seventh and tapped in the birdie putt.
The opening major of the year was once again seemingly heading for a gripping finish under leaden skies at Augusta National where possible thunderstorms have been forecast for later in the day.
Huge roars echoed around the 18th green well before the leaders teed off after China's 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, the feel-good story of the tournament, two-putted for par to sign off with a 75.
The youngest competitor ever at the Masters, Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Guan had already clinched the silver cup awarded to the low amateur at the Masters after becoming the youngest player to make the cut at a major championship.
"The whole week was great for me," a remarkably composed and thoughtful Guan told reporters after finishing at 12-over-par. "I really enjoy it, and I'm having fun. I learned a lot.
"It's not easy to play here, to make the cut and be low amateur. I think I did a pretty good job this week and can't believe it's over."
Northern Irish world number two Rory McIlroy, whose Masters title bid was derailed by his third-round 79, signed off with a 69 for a two over total of 290.
"I played well. It was tough conditions the first couple of days and I was in a good position going into the weekend," said McIlroy. "I didn't quite have it all yesterday and that really cost me. You have to be right on your game for 72 holes here."
Three-times Masters champion Phil Mickelson concluded a disappointing week with a 73 to finish at nine over, two strokes worse than fellow American and defending champion Bubba Watson who closed with a 77.
The low point of Watson's round came at the par-three 12th where he ran up an ugly 10 after finding the water of Rae's Creek three times.
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