Bowditch on birdie spree in Holden New Zealand Ope
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2005 New Zealand Open | Round One | 10 Feb 2005
Twelve months ago young Queensland professional Steven Bowditch despaired about his golf and packed the clubs away. After a break of several months, the enthusiasm returned. He worked hard on the practice range for a month before he and girlfriend Trudy jumped in a car to follow the Troppo pro-am tour around Queensland.
Bowditch, 21, quickly regained his form and towards the end of 2004 he was more on the leaderboard than off it. He won the Queensland Open in November on the Von Nida tour then finished third in the Australian Open and fourth in the Australian Masters to end the year 14th on the order of merit with earnings of $A140,421.
That hot run of form continued at Gulf Harbour today where Bowditch fired 10 birdies, five on each nine and four in a row after the turn, to card a eight-under par round of 64 in the first round of the New Zealand Open.
After the morning field of 78 had finished their rounds, Bowditch was a shot clear of Scotsman Alastair Forsyth and the Swedish pair of Chris Hanell and Niclas Fasth. On 66 and just two strokes behind were another well-performed Swede Pierre Fulke, Welshman Garry Houston, and Australians, Adam Groom and Jarrod Moseley.
Bowditch was nine-under playing the 18th, but dropped his second shot in the round at the par-4 closing hole after hitting a bad drive, having his second jump into the corporate area, and missing a 2m putt after chipping nicely from the drop zone.
His only other bogey was at the 14th when he three-putted from 8m.
Bowditch, who joined the European tour last week as an affiliated member, is hoping to earn his full card, though his play and his top performances late last year have already gained him some invites on the tour.
As a back-up, he plans to play some Gateway and Hooter tour events in the United States as well as Von Nida tournaments in Australia. Although he had a three-putt, Bowditch said he couldn’t complain after having only 26 on the greens.
“I played okay at the end of last year where my short game saved me a lot and today I hit the ball good and the putts went in as the score showed. I played well last week at the Heineken (he finished 69th equal) but couldn’t make a putt.”
“I got a new Callaway driver this week and it added 10m to 15m to my drives and they went straight.”
Bowditch, who powered his drives some 300m, said the lack of wind meant plenty of low scores. He hoped the wind would arrive later in the tournament as he enjoyed playing against the element.
Fasth, 32, said he had no complaints apart from his one bogey at the par-3 162m eighth.
“I hit a very bad No. 5 iron and it plugged in the right bunker.
“But it was good out there. The greens were rolling truly but they can’t make them much quicker or the slopes will take over.”
Fasth said he experienced a bad year in 2004 and was “looking to playing really well again.”
“I felt like I started to get on top of my game last week at Royal Melbourne (he finished tied for 39th at two under) and I was happy with that. I putted well today but I can play better.”
Fellow Swede, Hanell, got to eight-under with three to play, but after parring his 16th and 17th holes, he dropped a shot on the last (the ninth) to join Fasth and Forsyth on seven-under. The Scotsman birdied 17 and 18 in a strong finish and never dropped a shot.
Source – NZGA
Photo – Anthony Powter