Bowditch eyes first win, leads Valero by 1


When the first round finally concluded Friday morning, Andrew Loupe's name was atop the leaderboard at the Valero Texas Open. By the end of the day, though, that distinction belonged to Steven Bowditch, who will take a one-shot lead into the weekend as he looks for his first PGA Tour title:

Leaderboard: Steven Bowditch (-8), Chad Collins (-7), Andrew Loupe (-7), Cameron Beckman (-5), Pat Perez (-5), Kevin Na (-4)

What it means: Bowditch got off to a hot start Friday afternoon, playing his first 12 holes in 7 under to grow his lead to five shots at one point. Despite a closing double bogey, the Aussie remains ahead of the pack as he, like many near the top of the standings, looks to secure a maiden trip to the Masters.

Round of the day: Collins carded a 60 last year on the Tour, and that capacity to go low was on display Friday at TPC San Antonio. The 35-year-old notched seven birdies against just one bogey during his second round, shooting a 6-under 66 that stands as the low score of the week. Collins reached 15 of 18 greens in regulation and moved up 30 places in the standings after opening with a 71.

Best of the rest: Bowditch created some distance from the pack early, beginning on the back nine and going out in 5-under 31. He added two more birdies on his inward half and appeared ready to challenge the course record of 63 before finding trouble around the ninth green. Even with a double bogey on his final hole, Bowditch carded a 5-under 67 that tied for his second-best score this season.

Biggest disappointment: Two weeks ago, Danny Lee held a share of the first-round lead at the Valspar Championship but ballooned to a 79 to miss the cut. Unfortunately, the Kiwi repeated the feat this week in San Antonio, going from the leaderboard to a trunk slam after rounds of 68 and 83. Lee had only one birdie Friday and made nine bogeys in addition to a triple bogey on No. 3 en route to an early exit.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: The leaderboard in San Antonio includes several players who aren't exactly used to the limelight, and most near the top need a win to head down Magnolia Lane in two weeks. Bowditch contended last year, tying for second at Greenbrier, but it remains to be seen if he can handle the pressure of a final pairing on the weekend.

Shot of the day: Bowditch had just 83 yards left after a strong drive on the par-4 12th, and the Aussie made quick work from there. He holed his short wedge approach for an unexpected eagle, earning him a share of the lead for the first time early in the second round.