2012 Players Champion, Matt Kuchar had the low round of the day at the Valero Texas Open, and added some much-needed star appeal to a leaderboard that was loaded with unproven PGA Tour talent. Kuchar blistered the TPC San Antonio course on Saturday carding a -7 under par 65 at the J.W. Marriott resort North of the Alamo city. The Kuch made up ground on 54 hole leader, Stephen Bowditch who shot 68.
Matt Kuchar got off to a great start on Saturday with birdies at the first three holes. He would add a couple more before making the turn at 31. The only blemish on his scorecard came at the par 3 13th hole before finishing strong with two more birdies at 17 and 18.
A quick look at the statistics shows that although he wasn’t burning up the field with his putter, he was with the driver. On a golf course that demands accuracy off the tee, Kuchar hit 83% of his fairways. The tour average is just shy of 59%.
“I think (there’s) no better way to get ready to win tournaments than by winning tournaments,” Kuchar said. “I think winning breeds more winning. I think that’s just a thing that comes with confidence. The more time you’re in a position to win tournaments, the more comfortable you get.”
Stephen Bowditch got started with a bang as well. He followed a chip-in birdie at the first hole, and picked up a chip-in eagle at two. The Aussie’s nerves seemed to come into play as he began missing fairways and greens as the round went on. He made a bogey at the ninth hole and struggled for pars down the stretch. His only birdie on the back came at 17.
The one thing we found out about Stephen Bowditch on Saturday, was how good his short game was. He didn’t hit a lot of greens, but he scrambled for what he got, and what he did, especially on the back nine, was save pars, and keep the three-shot lead.
Bowditch chipped in on his first two holes Saturday, making birdie at the par-4 first and eagle on the par-5 second. He made just one bogey Saurday.
“The ballstriking wasn’t real good, but my misses were in a good spot,” he said. “Chipping around the greens is normally one of my stronger points.”
With a leaderboard full of unproven talent, and with a Masters berth up for grabs, the final round should be very interesting. Ryan Palmer, and 26 year-old tour rookie, Chesson Hadley can make the field at Augusta if they can tough out good finishes at San Antonio. Hadley can get inside of the top 50 in World Rankings with a 7th place finish on better on Sunday.
The Valero Texas Open is the final stop before the March 31st deadline for making the Masters via the World Rankings.