O'Malley, Bowditch return to battle at NZ PGA
BY iseekgolf.com | Web.com Tour | 2007 NZ PGA Championship | General | 19 Jan 2007
Aussies Peter O’Malley and Steven Bowditch, who were involved in a four-hole sudden-death play-off to determine the 2005 New Zealand PGA Championship at Clearwater, are returning for another showdown.
Both are confirmed for the HSBC sponsored 72-hole championship at the Christchurch resort course from February 22 to 25. The $US600,000 tournament is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and United States Nationwide Tour.
New South Welshmen O’Malley and Queenslander Bowditch fought out the only play-off needed to find the winner in five previous championships at Clearwater two years ago as Bowditch fired a course record of nine-under 63 in the final round to match O’Malley’s total of 14-under 274.
They played the testing par-4 18th four times before O’Malley settled the issue with a birdie.
O’Malley is the only dual winner at Clearwater, the popular and regular visitor from across the Tasman claiming the inaugural Clearwater Classic with a 17-under score of 271 in 2002.
The two professionals are poles apart in approach, the 41-year-old O’Malley relying on accuracy and guile to conquer Clearwater and the 23-year-old Bowditch backing his policy of attack at all times and using his length off the tee to set up short-iron approach shots.
Bowditch, who had won the Jacob’s Creek Open the week before finishing runner-up at Clearwater, enjoyed a fruitful 2005 year, finishing fourth on the Nationwide Tour money list in his first year on the circuit and earning his card for the United States PGA tour last year.
But in 2006 Bowditch’s four-year professional career hit rock bottom when he was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and there was a time when he even contemplated suicide after withdrawing from a tour event.
He said he could not remember hitting balls while on the driving range and he went thirteen nights where he laid watching the ceiling and not getting a wink of sleep. He now recognises that people encounter clinical depression and is prepared to talk about it and fight it.
His rookie year on the United States PGA tour was difficult. He made the cut only twice in 22 tournaments, finishing 76th in the Reno-Tahoe Open and 78th in the Southern Farm Classic, and he failed to make the weekend field in the two Nationwide events he played. His earnings amounted to $US11,160, but he has been granted a minor medical exemption for 2007.
O’Malley, a professional for 20 years, has plied his trade successfully on both the Australasian and European Tours. Among his successes are the 1992 Scottish Open, the New Zealand Open and Benson and Hedges International in 1995, the 1998 Canon Challenge in Australia, and the 2001 English Open.
He has won three times in New Zealand, twice at Clearwater, and invariably plays well in the country, although he did miss the cut last year. O’Malley tied for eighth in the New Zealand Open last December after finishing 14th in the Mastercard Masters the previous week.
The Nationwide Tour starts with the Panama Championship in Panama City from January 25 to 28 and the Jacob’s Creek Open at the Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide from February 15 to 18 precedes the Clearwater tournament.
Source – HSBC