Bowditch holds on for maiden PGA win
Steven Bowditch tamed the windy conditions and a few nervous moments to hold on to his overnight lead and claim his first PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open.
The Australian took a three shot lead into the final round but it was quickly as he bogeyed the second and double bogeyed the fourth.
He held his nerve to birdie two holes before a bogey on the 18th was enough to see him claim the $1,116,000 winning purse.
Despite finishing the tournament on eight under, Bowditch’s final round of four over 76 was the highest closing score by a winner since Vijay Singh finished with the same score in the 2004 PGA Championship.
“I’m over the moon, I really can’t believe it,” said the 30-year-old, who has fought depression most of his career and even attempted suicide in 2006.
“I’ve got no idea (how I got through it) to be honest.
“I just drew back on some experience and got some advice from different people. It just happened to be my week, I guess.”
Bowditch, ranked 339th in the world, achieved only his third top ten finish in eight year on the tour. The win also earns him a spot in the Masters in Augusta in April.
“Every time I got out of check, looking ahead to the Masters and winning golf events and making my speeches before I was finished, I had to pull myself in check every time. And it happened a lot today,” revealed the grinning golfer from New South Wales.
Meanwhile, American’s Will Mackenzie carded a two under 70 and Daniel Summerhays a one under 71 to tie in second place, one stroke behind Bowditch on seven under.
MacKenzie did put some pressure on the Australian after he sank a 13 foot birdie putt on the 17th to get within one shot of Bowditch. But a birdie on the 14th would see the lead go back to two shots.
Bowditch becomes the second success Australian in as many weeks following John Senden’s victory at the Valspar Championship.
“He’s been a battler. He’s gone through a lot in his life,” said Senden, who waited about an hour after his round to shake Bowditch’s hand.
“That last putt wasn’t his best, but to finish it off he was as cool as a cucumber really. I’m proud to be his mate.”
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