Texas Open title to Bowditch
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Valero Texas Open | Wrap | 31 Mar 2014
More than twelve years after turning professional, 30 year old Steven Bowditch has recorded his first PGA Tour victory and perhaps his finest moment in golf by winning the Valero Texas Open at the TPC San Antonio.
Bowditch struggled to a final round of 76 but was still able to manage a one shot victory over Daniel Summerhays and Will MacKenzie as those around him also battled the typical windy conditions of Texas.
In victory, Bowditch has finally realised much of the significant potential he has always shown, his career interrupted by bouts of uncertainty and at times a well documented battle with depression.
Even allowing for that there have been several examples of just what a remarkable talent he is. None more so that when winning the Nationwide Tour’s Jacobs Creek Open in Adelaide in 2005. He led that event from the start and won by a five shot margin.
The very next week he again led the then Nationwide Tour event in Christchurch in New Zealand through 36 holes before a meltdown 76 on the Saturday followed by a 63 on the Sunday, eventually losing a playoff to Peter O’Malley.
It typified the then roller coaster nature of Bowditch’s golfing career but in more recent times a more settled life off the golf course has been reflected in greater stability on the golf course and the results are there for all to see.
In all he has won several lesser titles in Australia including the NSW PGA Championship, the Queensland PGA and Open titles, the Jacobs Creek Open, another Web.Com Tour title in the US and now the greatest victory of all in his career to date, the Valero Texas Open. He again showed today just what a good front-runner he can be. Several of his wins have now come after leading for much of those events. It is perhaps a case of when he is good he is very good.
The victory today brings with it US$1,116,000, a trip to Augusta National for the very first time in seven days, exemption on the PGA Tour until the end of 2016 and the confirmation that he genuinely has the game and the mindset to compete with and beat the best.
Bowditch will also move from 339th in the World Ranking to 134th.
The roller coaster he sometimes rides is reflected in the fact that this most important and wire to wire victory comes after missing three of his last four cuts this season.
Today he began his final round in the worst possible fashion by dropping three shots in the first four holes and all of a sudden the three shot margin he had enjoyed through 54 holes was gone. But Bowditch steadied the ship with a birdie at the 5th and remained in or shared the lead for the remainder of the round.
To his advantage today was that while he was struggling so too were those around him and when he eventually arrived on the 72nd tee he led by two. A three putt bogey there was perhaps an unfortunate way to finish but it mattered little as he had done enough to secure his first PGA Tour title and the trappings that come with it.
Geoff Ogilvy produced a much better effort than those he has shown in recent times when he shared 11th, John Senden was 42nd, Bronson La Cassie 46th, Greg Chalmers 56th, Scott Gardiner 64th and Aaron Baddeley 67th.
The PGA Tour now heads to Houston for this week’s Shell Houston Open with Augusta National now just 11 days away.