2005: Bowditch cobbles a stepping stone

Adelaide, Australia

Steven Bowditch can attest to the fact that one event can change one’s life.

After a five-shot victory Feb. 20 at the co-sanctioned Jacob’s Creek Open at Royal Adelaide Golf Club, Bowditch’s life is about to change for the better.

Bowditch shot 11-under-par 277 to collect $141,894 for his first Nationwide Tour victory, an event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia. Bowditch’s winnings were the second-highest in Nationwide history, just behind Euan Walters’ $145,586 for winning the 2004 Jacob’s Creek event.

Bowditch, 21, will play in this week’s ING New Zealand PGA Championship, another Nationwide/Australasian co-sanctioned event. Than it’s off to America as a full-exempt member of the PGA Tour’s development circuit.

Bowditch’s run of making five straight cuts and earning two top 5s follows a stretch of missing five consecutive cuts near the end of last season.

“One of my long-term goals is to be out on the PGA Tour by 24 and be winning out there by 26,” said Bowditch, a third-year pro from Queensland, Australia. “This is one of the stepping stones. I hope to be able to go over there for the rest of the year, and I still have all of the year left to try and get onto the PGA Tour.”

In Australia, Bowditch never gave anyone else a chance. Bowditch shared the first-round lead with American Cliff Kresge, then led by five shots after two rounds and three shots after 54 holes. In the final round, Bowditch built a seven-shot lead on the front nine. Despite three bogeys in his next four holes (Nos. 10, 12, 13), Bowditch’s lead never fell below three as he steadied himself down the stretch.

“It was one of those days when everything went right. A few more putts started to drop,” he said. “I didn’t hit too many bad shots today, and the two or three I did, I got away with a little bit. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

American Ryan Armour (69) and Australian Nathan Green (70) shared second place at 6-under 282, while another pair of Aussies, Greg Chalmers (71) and Craig Jones (71), tied for fourth.

Bowditch was calmed by the fact that his father was caddying for him.

“We just talked about staying in the moment, shot by shot. That’s all we talked about, and whatever happens happens,” Bowditch said. “On the 18th, I hit a good drive and said, ‘Dad, that’s it,’ and he looked at me and said, ‘Not yet, son, we’ve still got three left.’ ”

Bowditch pulled off the three shots, and now is one step closer to reaching the PGA Tour.

– Staff and wire reports

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