Bowditch back to defend in California

BY Bruce Young | Web.com Tour | 2011 Soboba Golf Classic | Preview | 20 Sep 2011

The Nationwide Tour has moved across the country this week from Idaho to California for the Soboba Golf Classic at the Gary Bichter redesigned Country Club of Soboba Springs in San Jacinto. The layout was originally designed by Desmond Muirhead but underwent significant changes in 2006.

The event is the sixth to last on the 2011 Nationwide Tour and is one of only two Californian based events on that schedule.

Australian golfer Steve Bowditch, who is currently 131st on the PGA Tour money list, will play this week’s event with two purposes in mind. Firstly, as the defending champion, he no doubt sees an opportunity to rekindle some great memories of the event that got him to the PGA Tour this year. Secondly the event provides the perfect opportunity for Bowditch to get his game in shape for a return to the PGA Tour at next week’s opening event of the Fall Series.

Bowditch has not played a tournament since the Barclays nearly three weeks ago so this week’s tournament is important on several fronts for the 28 year old.

Prize-money has been reduced from the US$1 million available in 2010 to $750,000 this year but it still represents a comparatively significant sum. It is the third highest purse on the Nationwide Tour this season and as a result all of the leading players are in San Jacinto.

J.J. Killeen, Mathew Goggin, Troy Kelly, Gary Christian and Ted Potter Jr are the leading five players from this year’s money list but as far down as 15th can probably feel comfortable enough about their fate for next season. For the remainder however the last six events could become a dream or a nightmare as they chase their place on the PGA Tour in 2012.

Only the leading 25 will be awarded a 2012 PGA Tour card at the completion of the Tour Championship in late October.

Currently amongst Australasian golfers Matthew Goggin (2nd) and Danny Lee (14th) appear safe enough but Lee did slip three positions last week and will no doubt feel just a little better with a couple more cuts made. James Nitties, in 16th position, has done well but likely still needs one or two more reasonable cheques to be sure.

Eighteen Australasians are in this week’s field including three PGA Tour players keen to get their games in shape prior to next week’s Justin Timberlake event in Las Vegas. Bowditch will be joined by Cameron Percy and Nathan Green, all three no doubt hoping for the boost their games need to finish the season off well.

Percy finished 6th in this event two years ago and has made the cut in each of the three Nationwide Tour events he has played since the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour in August.

Green is having a horror year on the PGA Tour and is in danger of losing his status although he did play a little better in a Nationwide Tour event in Knoxville a few weeks ago.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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