Bowditch hangs on for first career title at Valero


It wasn’t pretty by any means, but Steven Bowditch became a PGA Tour winner for the first time Sunday at the Valero Texas Open. Here’s the skinny on the final round at TPC San Antonio:

The Leaderboard: Steven Bowditch (-8); Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays at -7; Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe at -6

What it means: It’s a remarkable career breakthrough for Bowditch, who entered this week ranked 339th in the world. More than that, though, this is a player who is less than a decade removed from his battle with clinical depression. Bowditch, 30, was winless in 109 starts on the PGA Tour, and he had only two career top 10s. The 36- and 54-hole leads this week were his first on Tour, and even though his final-round 76 won’t earn any style points, it was enough to get the job done on a windy, difficult day. In two weeks he will make his first Masters start.

Round of the day: Bowditch got off to a miserable start, playing the first four holes in 3 over, but he never fell out of the lead. He dropped a shot on 13 but came back on the next hole with a bounce-back birdie on the par-5 14th. He made par on his next three holes, then missed a tiddler for par on 18.

Best of the rest: Brendon Todd’s 68-68 weekend moved him all the way up to T-6 and gave him his second top 10 this season (T-6, Humana). Will MacKenzie’s resurgence continued Sunday with a tie for second. He has finished sixth or better in three of his last four starts, and he has six top 10s overall this season.

Biggest disappointment: All the stars seemed to be aligning for Matt Kuchar to pick up his first victory of the season, but uncharacteristic bogeys on Nos. 10, 11 and 14 kept him at bay. He shot 75 Sunday. One of the few players on the ’board with an established resume, the 11th-ranked player in the world squandered a golden opportunity for his seventh-career Tour title. Still, it was his fifth top 10 in his last eight starts.

Shot of the day: From the hardpan right of the 17th fairway, Bowditch made good contact on his pitch shot and gave himself a birdie putt. He was unable to convert from 35 feet, but he avoided disaster, two-putted for par and headed to the home hole two shots clear. 

Quote of the day: “I’ve got no idea,” Bowditch said when asked how he was able to hold on during a rocky final round. “I just drew back on some experiences and some good advice from different people. It just happened to be my week, I guess.”