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Bettencourt shares lead despite broken club, asthma

PGA Tour
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MOBILE, AL - NOVEMBER 10: Ben Barry of Tuscaloosa carries a stuffed Pink Panther on his shoulders as he follows Paula Creamer through her third round play in The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions at Magnolia Grove Golf Course on November 10, 2007 in Mobile, Alabama. Creamer is nicknamed the Pink Panther. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)  - 

SAN ANTONIO – Valero Texas Open co-leader Matt Bettencourt better hope he doesn’t find himself with a gap-wedge shot (115-125 yards) on Friday morning.

He won’t have the proper club.

Bettencourt, who shot a 5-under 67 to share the lead at TPC San Antonio, damaged his 52-degree wedge on the eighth hole in his opening round.

After his tee shot on the par 5 hit the cart path and bounced into a rocky area, Bettencourt thought he had a clean lie until he hit a rock at impact and “destroyed pretty much the face of the club.”

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A rules official told Bettencourt that, although the face was damaged – “On the middle to the toe side, it’s completely chunked” – he was allowed to continue the round with the wedge. But he cannot put the club in play Friday.

That’s a problem, of course, because his second-round tee time is first off Friday – 7:20 a.m. local time.

TaylorMade is shipping a new ATV wedge overnight, but it likely won’t arrive until about 9 a.m., or when Bettencourt is on the sixth or seventh hole.

A busted wedge, however, is the least of Bettencourt’s problems. A winner at the 2010 Reno-Tahoe Open, he has struggled mightily the past few years. This season, he has missed the cut in four of five starts on the PGA and tours.

The issue?

Severe asthma, Bettencourt said, which left him jittery over the ball. He has gone back and forth with three or four inhalers, several different medications, and only last week thinks he found the right combination.

“It’s good getting that under control and being able to play golf,” he said.