Steven Bowditch wins in Texas

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What Happened

Steven Bowditch carried a three-shot lead into Sunday at TPC San Antonio, with Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe being the closest competitors to the 30-year old Australian. Conditions were going to be tough at the course on Sunday though, with heavy winds expected and considering that two of the three players in the final group had little to no experience in winning at the professional level, Sunday promised to be a back and forth day at the top of the leaderboard.

That’s exactly what happened too, with Bowditch and Loupe struggling early, allowing Kuchar to tie for the lead and giving players further down on the leaderboard some hope that they weren’t out of it just yet. A birdie on the par-5 14th gave Bowditch a two-shot advantage at 9-under par, despite being 3-over on his round. With Will MacKenzie in the clubhouse at 7-under par, the target was set early and as long as Bowditch didn’t completely blow it over the last few holes, he was going to have his first PGA Tour win. Even though he bogeyed the 18th for a 76, he was able to hang on for a one-shot win over MacKenzie.

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Steven Bowditch -8
  • T2. Will MacKenzie -7
  • T2. Daniel Summerhayes -7
  • T4. Matt Kuchar -6
  • T4. Andrew Loupe -6

What The Win Means For Bowditch

It’s his first PGA Tour win, and he gets into the Masters, which should be reason enough for him to be thrilled and for the general public to be happy for him. However, Bowditch’s past is something that makes this win seem extra special, at least to me. There’s nothing I can say about him that hits home better than Jim Moriarty’s piece for Golf World, so please click here and read up on Steven Bowditch.

Phil’s WD

So, is anyone going to be healthy for Augusta? The tournament made a big deal of promoting Phil Mickelson’s appearance this week for the first time as a professional, and man, did that ever backfire. Phil withdrew during Saturday’s third round with an oblique injury and he was never even remotely close to being a factor. Phil is still scheduled to play in the Shell Houston Open this week, an event that he plays in every year in preparation for the Masters, but don’t be surprised if he pulls out.

Between Phil, Tiger and Jason Day, the main contenders for Augusta are all struggling to stay healthy right now, and an event that was shaping up to be one of the most open in recent memory is looking more unpredictable with every passing day.

The Slow Play Debate Rages On

Andrew Loupe’s first real foray into live TV coverage on the PGA Tour happened on Saturday, and let’s just say that it didn’t go all that well for him, at least from a reputation standpoint. Everyone who watched him came away thinking that he was the slowest player on the PGA Tour, playing like some kind of Kevin Na/Keegan Bradley hybrid. Johnny Miller suggested that if “everyone on tour played like him, I would stop commentating.” Hey, maybe there is a positive here!

In fairness to Loupe, Roger Maltbie suggested that he was playing much faster on Sunday, on a day when just about everyone was playing at a snail’s pace. The slow play debate is never going to end unless those in charge of the PGA Tour decide to start penalizing players in meaningful ways. For more, read Geoff Shackelford’s take on the issue.

Other Notes

  • Other notable finishes: Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson (T6), Jordan Spieth (T10), Geoff Ogilvy, Pat Perez and Kevin Na (T11), Jimmy Walker (T16), Jason Kokrak (T31), John Senden (T42).
  • Notables to miss the cut: Ernie Els, Nicolas Colsaerts, Padraig Harrington, Martin Laird, David Toms, K.J. Choi, Ryo Ishikawa, Billy Horschel, Peter Uihlein and Retief Goosen.
  • Injury report:
  1. Morgan Hoffmann (WD – illness): Hoffmann made the cut on the number but ended up having a nasty case of food poisoning.
  2. Phil Mickelson (WD – oblique): Already talked about this, but here’s his official statement, courtesy Rotoworld: “My back’s feeling great, my body’s been feeling great,” the Hall of Famer said. “I felt as good as I have all year. My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great. I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit the ball hard on the [first] hole (his 10th of the day). It just killed and it wouldn’t subside for 10 or 12 seconds. I’m going to go back to San Diego of a couple of days and have a doctor take a look at it but there’s really not much you can do for a pulled muscle. I hope I’ll be OK to play the Shell in Houston but I just don’t know.”
  3. Erik Compton (WD – illness): Obviously when someone like Compton, who has had serious heart issues in the past, withdraws citing an illness, it’s cause for concern. We haven’t heard much from him, but he tweeted that he was on the way to Houston, so I don’t think we have much to worry about here.
  4. Bryce Molder (WD – personal reasons): Not going to speculate obviously, but the PGA Tour does require an explanation for a WD, so I’m sure we’re going to hear something about this soon.
  5. Tommy Gainey (WD – elbow): Second WD in three starts because of an elbow issue, as he did the same thing in Puerto Rico.
  6. Ricky Barnes (WD – personal/back): Barnes’ grandmother passed away earlier in the week, plus his back started acting up at some point during the first round.
  7. Dudley Hart (WD – back): Second consecutive start that Hart has pulled out with a back problem and that’s coming off of some back surgery in recent years. He still has nine starts left on his major medical extension.
  • The combination of the course, the players involved and the slow play made Sunday damn near unwatchable. Not sure what the PGA Tour can do about that, but man, this really had the feel of one of the old Fall Series events that were watched by just about no one for very obvious reasons.
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