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Bowditch pays it forward by choosing young caddie

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Turns out Steven Bowditch was just trying to pay it forward when he found his caddie for this week’s John Deere Classic via Twitter.

A late entry into the field, the two-time PGA Tour winner selected local high schooler Elias Francque, who will turn 17 on Friday, to serve as his caddie for this week’s event. Bowditch told Golf Channel’s Chantel McCabe that it was “something I’ve always wanted to do” ever since a chance encounter years ago.

“When I was (Francque’s) age, I caddied for John Senden one time,” Bowditch told McCabe. “It was a memory that I’ll never forget. It really kick-started me a little bit and I’ve always wanted to do it. I thought it was a perfect opportunity. Just trying to make a kid smile for the week.”

Senden didn’t remember having a young Bowditch loop for him at one point, but it turns out that he, too, was trying to pay it forward. In 1987, as a youngster, he caddied in a one-day event for Ian Baker-Finch in Australia.

“He came out for a practice round, and we walked around and followed him,” Senden told McCabe. “I pulled his buggy up the last hole because it’s a steep hill. On Sunday, when he turned up to play, there were probably 30 juniors who wanted to caddie for him. So he said to us: ‘Who was the guy that pulled my bag up the hill?’ I said that was me, so I caddied for him that day.”

Three years ago, Baker-Finch, Senden and Bowditch played the Par 3 Contest together at the Masters. Until this week, they had no idea the coincidence.

“Pretty cool,” Senden said.