Bowditch rides short game, leads Valero by 3


Low scores were available Saturday at the Valero Texas Open, where several players made a move up the leaderboard at TPC San Antonio. Here's how things look heading into the final round, as Steven Bowditch remains out in front by three shots:

Leaderboard: Steven Bowditch (-12), Andrew Loupe (-9), Matt Kuchar (-9), Pat Perez (-8), Kevin Na (-7), Daniel Summerhays (-6), Chad Collins (-6)

What it means: Bowditch found only eight of 18 greens in regulation during the third round, but the burly Aussie relied upon his short game to remain in front. Bowditch holed a pair of chips to begin his round, then played the final nine holes without dropping a shot. He'll look to close out his first career PGA Tour title Sunday, but a number of contenders remain within reach, including Kuchar.

Round of the day: Kuchar’s low ball flight seems ideally suited for play in Texas, and he got off to a hot start during the third round with birdies on his first three holes and five of his first seven. Kuchar added three more birdies across his inward nine, including Nos. 17 and 18, to move within two shots of Bowditch at one point. He’ll begin the final round firmly in contention as he looks to win for the first time since the Memorial.

Best of the rest: Andrew Svoboda barely made it past the 36-hole cut, but made a big move up the leaderboard thanks to a 5-under 67. Svoboda birdied three straight from Nos. 13-15 and added three more birdies on his second nine. The round moved him up 46 spots in the standings, and he will start Sunday in a tie for 14th.

Biggest disappointment: After making the cut on the number, Phil Mickelson made it only 10 holes Saturday before withdrawing because of a pulled oblique muscle. Mickelson added this event to help smooth things out before the Masters, but will now head down Magnolia Lane with more questions than answers, as his status for next week’s event in Houston is now very much in doubt.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Bowditch displayed an ability to deal with the spotlight Saturday, but it remains to be seen if he can repeat the feat under the pressures of the final round. Kuchar will be the player to watch from the chase pack, as he is the only player within six shots of the lead who already has a ticket punched for the Masters.

Shot of the day: After chipping in for birdie on No. 1, Bowditch was just short of the green in two at the par-5 second hole. The Aussie again took dead aim and holed his second chip in as many holes, this one for eagle to help jump-start his round.