Stephen Bowditch had it to 10 under par on Friday at the Valero Texas Open, but a double bogey at his final hole on the J.W. Marriott TPC San Antonio would get the 30 year-old Aussie in the clubhouse with the 54 hole lead. Bowditch started his day on the back nine and fired a -5 under 67 which was good for a one-shot lead.
An 83 yard chip-in eagle at the par 4 12th hole got the youngster’s day off to a great start. He added three more birdies before making the turn at five under par. A 77% Greens-In-Regulation average got him two more birdies at two and three before the double-bogey monster got him at nine.
“I’m not making many putts at the moment, so most of my birdies have been sort of coming inside of 6 or 5 feet,” said Bowditch, who’s 155th in the FedExCup. “I’ve hit a lot of good wedge shots. I made a couple good par saves on my back nine this afternoon, but all in all it’s been more of hitting my approach shots pretty close.”
“My putter has really been a big problem this year,” said Bowditch, who ranks 145th in strokes gained-putting. “I’ve been fighting that, but ballstriking-wise has been pretty good.”
Andrew Loupe and Chad Collins will begin Saturday one stroke back, and share second place at -7 under par. Tournament favorites, Freddie Jacobson, and Will MacKenzie will have to make up some ground on Moving Day if they want a shot at this win, and a trip to Augusta.
Jacobson is four back at -4 under par, and MacKenzie is one more stroke back at -3 under par. The 36-hole cut was at +3 over par, and should give us an interesting finish on Sunday. There are a lot of players on the leaderboard who need a Masters invitation which could change their careers dramatically.
Phil Mickelson, who has been struggling all year, and had a nasty 77 in Thursday’s round, birdied the 18th hole to make the field for the weekend. The five-time major champion seems to be struggling with all aspects of his game. He intends to play next week in Houston in attempt to get ready for Augusta.